ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Smiles and pre-graduation selfies could be found in abundance outside the Family Arena in St. Charles at the Pattonville High School graduation Thursday.

“It’s a real touching moment seeing it’s all coming to an end,” said Noah Ballard, a graduate.

The ceremony produced a mixed bag of emotions for seniors.

“It’s a really big relief,” said Camille Loflend.

“I’m super excited but also really nervous,” Jamie Newell said.

One Pattonville senior was not as phased by the occasion. After all, 18-year-old Miguel ‘Miggy’ Perez has played in front of 20,000 screaming fans, so the stage at Family Arena was a cakewalk. But just because he’s not nervous does not mean he’s selling Thursday night short. The ceremony was just as important as making his St. Louis City SC debut.

“(My parents) always said education first and soccer comes second, so they were happy for me also,” Perez said.

Perez’s family had a front-row seat, and perhaps no one happier for him than his father, Luis.

“Can’t believe that he’s finally going to walk across the stage and receive his high school diploma,” Luis said.

Perez still may be one of the only teenagers in City SC, but he can at least now show off his diploma.

“So now (my teammates) can’t say go to math class because I can say I’m done,” Perez joked.

Whether it’s his next step onto a soccer pitch or his classmates stepping onto a college campus, it’s the same for both. The first day of the rest of their lives.

“I’m not going to see them on a daily basis like I do now, and it’s going to be a real different experience,” Ballard said. “But not really a negative one because everyone has to go into their own path in life, and I welcome that.”