NEW YORK — Thousands of students across the city marked their graduation with parties and celebrations with friends and family this week, hailing their hard work and already thinking toward the future.
"It was a long journey," said Nethanya Smith, 17, a dance major at the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy on the Lower East Side. "You know high school!"
Smith was among the students at the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy's graduation ceremony Tuesday, taking photos and savoring their last few moments in high school.
New York City's high school graduation rate hit a record 65.5 percent last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced earlier this month. However, less than a quarter of the graduates were college-ready, according to city and state statistics.
Averi Gardner, 17, a drama major at the Grand Street school, said she's definitely college ready, and is headed for Brandeis University in the fall.
"I feel really proud, and I'm ready for college," she said.
Holly Wolf, the school's college adviser, called this year's class "multi-talented, remarkable and always interesting."
"Life is a constant change," Wolf said in her final piece of advice to the graduating class. "Go with the flow."