They waited for the children whose little hands they had held tightly on the way in through the school gate nearly 12 years ago.
And then those same children thundered past them in a rush of blurred memories, torn shirts, tossed shoes, whistles, hoots and hollers.
There was no holding back the 351 graduating Year 12 students of Mountain Creek State High School after they were officially farewelled with a school assembly and guard of honour yesterday morning.
Some of the Year 12s, keen to shed the shackles of their school days, had kicked off shoes, torn sleeves, and taken off their shirts by the time they had reached the gates.
The crowd cheered. They cheered louder.
Whistles and hooters blew, and a round of water bombs flew as they raced to cars decorated with streamers, crazy string and messages.
They left in convoy for what has become a tradition for school leavers not only of Mountain Creek, but other Coast high schools: a dunk in the surf at Mooloolaba.
Pam Hooper and Kevin Keenan, who watched their sons, both named Lachlan, drive away with mates Kurt Sammut and Zach Favell, said "forgetting everything" was the first priority for the boys, who would likely head off to university next year.
Mrs Hooper, who had taught some of the school leavers in Year 2, said this year level had been a "nice cohort" who generally got on well.
Hannah Smith and Melinda Trevanion looked as if they would happily never pick up a book again as they celebrated the end of their school days on the beach, even though study is far from over for them.
The two plan to go to university: Hannah is hoping to study medicine after perhaps taking a gap year while Melinda is interested in psychology.
But Hannah had only one word to say about it all yesterday: "Schoolies!"