CONYERS — Dressed in classic black graduation robes with red cuffs and hoods, 516 seniors at Rockdale County High School and the Magnet School for Science and Technology became high school graduates Thursday.

The class profile, given by counselor Khalisha Sabree, highlighted the accomplishments of this class — 29 percent qualified for honor graduate status; 91 percent will continue their education at the next level; 73 percent of those will attend a four-year college, among them Stanford, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, the University of Georgia, and more. Seven percent have chosen to enlist in the military, while 2 percent are headed into the workforce.

Notably, the class has been offered more than $12 million in scholarships, including HOPE.

“You, the Class of 2019, have a bright future ahead of you if you are not afraid to put in the hard work,” said Sabree. “My wish is that you accomplish the dreams and goals you have set for yourself and that you use any obstacles you may encounter as stepping stones.”

Commencement speakers took the podium to express their thanks and appreciation to family, friends and faculty for helping them in their academic journey and to share their optimism for what the future holds.

“To the Class of 2019, I’d like to say that we didn’t come this far to only come this far,” said Victoria Edmands, salutatorian for RCHS. “I believe each of us can change the world, so let’s make it happen!”

Edmands plans to attend the University of Georgia and major in environmental engineering.

Magnet School Valedictorian Anthony Gerald Mays II brought a bit of levity to his remarks.

“As a chapter in our lives comes to a close, I give these parting words to my class,” said Mays. “Always aim to do the best you can do, and do that by being yourself only. And when you do encounter future failures, remember, ‘It really do be like that sometimes.’”

Mays plans to attend Stanford University, majoring in management science and engineering.

Faith Campbell, the RCHS valedictorian, thanked her mother for her love and support. “As cheesy as it sounds, she is my best friend,” said Campbell. “She has been my rock and my number one supporter and motivator.”

Cambell plans to attend Savannah College of Art and Design where she will major in sequential art.

Huong Thi Ho, Magnet School salutatorian, also expressed appreciation to her parents.

“My parents used to tell me stories about their hard life in Vietnam and how they started working when they were 12,” she said. “I used to think that it was so cool living that life, but I later realized they told me these stories to convince me that I shouldn’t take the opportunities I was given for granted.”

She plans to attend Georgia Tech and pursue a degree in industrial engineering.

Editor

I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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