Moments before a John Mayer song was performed, a teacher quoted the rapper Eminem and the brilliance of Ferris Bueller's Day Off was noted, the Weston class of 2010 was milling around in their robes outside the middle school gymnasium. The weather was hot and the soon-to-be graduates were sweating.

A man carrying a pack of bottled water on his shoulder weaved through the masses as students clawed for bottles.

"That's really for the faculty," said a teacher in a black robe, but the students were undeterred.

"I'm so dehydrated," replied a student eyeing the bottles

When the school's 40th graduation ceremony began about half an hour later, a cool breeze arrived that didn't let up as the 207 students collected their diplomas. Before that would happen, however, the students were spending what would be their final moments with their entire class.

"I'm going to miss our friends being around all the time," said Christina Hillman, who will be attending New York University in the fall, a school that has a total enrollment three times the population of her town.

She was about to head inside the gymnasium to line up with her other classmates, including Brittany Wengel. According to Wengel, a future student of the University of Virginia, she will miss the community. Hillman concurred.

A few feet away, the pair pointed out that their friend was crying.

"Can you put: `As girls cries in the background?'" asked their friend, with noticeably wet eyes, to this reporter.

The students walked in two lines to a cavernous white tent between the middle school and high school.

In front of the massive audience of friends, family and faculty, the class valedictorian Jessica Walsh remembered the years she spent at the school and wondered what would become of her classmates.

"Nostalgia is a powerful force, and a devious one as well," she said. "It can be confusing, bittersweet and introspective, all at once."

Looking back to her days a kindergartner getting on the bus for the first time, Mackenzie Young also became nostalgic.

"One thing that will always stay the same, whether you're 5 and going off to kindergarten or 18 and going off to college, are your families," she said. "Look at them all here today, snapping photos just like they were at the bus stop 12 years ago, and as I'm sure they will be when we pull out of the driveway, college bound."

About an hour earlier, social studies teacher Bill Moeder saw his 14-year-old twins graduate from the middle school. It was a special moment for him, but he realized it wasn't the most difficult achievement.

"Let's be honest: what was the last time somebody didn't graduate from eighth grade? 1910?"

He told his former pupils to work hard, be successful, but ultimately not to forget about their community and those who need help.

"You guys have been given a great head start in life with your education and upbringing here in Weston -- a foundation that will take you far," Moeder said. "Don't lose sight of where you came from and how fortunate you really are."

Running through Danny Goldberg's mind was a quote from the '80s comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

"What I've always wondered is that, out of all the famous lines in film, why does this one always stick out in so many of our heads?" Goldberg, the class president, asked. "How does that one sentence represent to us something so simple yet so profound?"

Through 18 years, he noted that his classmates have seen the horrors of Sept. 11, the worst recession since the Depression, war in the Middle East and other significant historical events. The class has also seen the popularity of Pokemon, Toy Story, Power Rangers and other bits of pop culture. During all that have been the memories of high school, friendships and more.

"Don't let these four-plus years we shared slip away just yet because Ferris Bueller was absolutely right after all," he said.