The last day of Amity High's school year was June 14. For some students, however, last Wednesday marked the end of more than just the start of summer vacation.

At 4 p.m., seniors graduated Amity High School and closed a major chapter in their lives. "Graduation went very smoothly. It was well organized. But it didn't really hit me that I was graduating until I sat there at graduation. It still hasn't hit me that I'm not going back to Amity

next year," said Orange resident Hannah Ahn, an incoming Barnard University freshman.

Some graduating seniors had their plans for the future set in stone well before the end of the school year. Students who applied to and got accepted into college via early decision and early action received their acceptance letters around December 15.

"Getting into the first college of choice, early decision was such a relief. Work continued throughout the year in all my six courses, but the impact of grades decreased and there was no need to worry about what would happen come April (when most seniors were getting their letters of acceptance or rejection)," Orange resident Kate Blosveren, a soon-to-be Cornell University freshman, said.

Most students who received early decision acceptance letters had similar sentiments. The December acceptances did not produce a crop of unmotivated seniors.

"All my grades were being sent in, including "midmarks" (a mid-marking period report card mailed home to each student), so if I had slacked off, it's feasible that Boston College could have written me off. But more importantly, I would not have settled for failing marks on my report card," Orange resident T.J. Hackney said.

Regardless of when they were accepted into colleges, graduation exercises provided seniors with a feeling of relief and at least a sense of partial closure. However, along with the end of any major period in peoples' lives come some unwelcome changes.

"I'm glad to be going to college, but I'm genuinely sad to be leaving, too. This year, I've made many different friends who I'm going to have to leave behind. I know I'll keep in touch with my good friends and of course I'll come back to visit. But it won't be the same. I'm really going to miss people," Hackney said.

Summer plans for graduates vary. Some are rejoicing in the freedom that is a summer without worry of where they will apply to college. Some are getting a head start on college and taking classes for credit. But the majority are working to earn money to help subsidize their up-coming four-year excursion.

"This summer I'll be lifeguarding. I'm glad that I'll be able to contribute some money to my college education. I'll also be able to put some of my wages away for living expenses," Bethany resident Tom Harned, incoming McGill University freshman, said.

Summer is a turbulent time for incoming seniors, too. The seniors-to-be are making mass treks to visit schools across the nation and beyond.

"I just visited Middlebury College in Vermont and I love it. It has become my first choice college. The scenery is beautiful and the college offers programs that are immensely appealing to me. I plan on looking at other colleges, too, of course, but this visit has given me a good idea of what sort of college would be right for me," Orange resident Sunil Purushotham, incoming Amity High School senior, said.

In addition to the scads of students attempting to narrow down or affirm their college selections, many incoming seniors are working and volunteering.

"I'll be volunteering at Yale-New Haven Hospital this summer. It's a nice feeling to be able to give something back to the community," Orange resident Vivian Luh, said.

Overall, summer brings smiles to the faces of most every kid. In fact, everyone in the community-at-large is a little happier come summertime. The thought of basking in the golden glow of warm weather gives people a little boost.

"I'm a teacher, and in my profession we get the summer off. This season gives me time to catch up on sleep and relax with a little sun. It's also interesting to see my sister embarking on the same educational journey I once did, seeking out a college to attend. But she and I can both savor a little much-needed "R&R" during the summer," Woodbridge resident Nancy Cammarata,

sister of incoming Amity High School senior Christina Cammarata, said.

Amity's class of 2000 will spend a nostalgic summer reminiscing about the times of old with all the people with whom they've passed most of their childhood's. When their final summer before college comes to a close, they will enter into worlds they have yet to conquer.

Bethany resident Mike Keller, incoming Georgetown University freshman, said, "I'm glad to be moving on. I look forward to creating connections with people from all across the world."