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Grads look forward to life after Eastside

COVINGTON - While many Newton County residents spent their Memorial Day weekend relaxing outside or at a vacation spot, 242 Eastside High School seniors celebrated the completion of one phase of their lives in a graduation ceremony at Church In The Now on Saturday morning.

While some were still undecided about what life has in store for them next, others were thinking about moving away to college or starting off in the "real world" with a job.

"In the past four years, we have been preparing ourselves for life after high school. We have been taught information on varied subject matter, we have played sports and we have had fun," said the class of 2008 Valedictorian Marley Cain in her speech to students and guests during Saturday's ceremony. "Today, we are closing a chapter of our lives, and beginning a new journey. ... I hope you take with you the things we have learned and apply them to your life."

She said she foresees a future for her fellow classmates: doctors, nurses, CEOs, teachers, politicians, lawyers, psychologists, scientists and business people.

"Here's the door we've been looking for; Let's walk through and see what's new for me and you," sang graduate Judah Swilley in the class song, "Wherever You May Go." "I've been told that we don't have it all together, but I know that together we have it all."

Swilley received a standing ovation from his classmates after he performed his original composition.

The mid-morning graduation program ended on a humorous note. Newton County School System Superintendent Steven Whatley nearly declared the students graduates of Newton High School before correcting himself and properly identifying the seniors as 2008 graduates of Eastside High School.

Newton High School seniors graduated at 9 a.m. Saturday and graduates at Alcovy High School accepted their diplomas at 2 p.m. Saturday.

So far, the class has been offered almost $2 million in scholarship money, not including the HOPE scholarship. Many students are preparing to go to such schools as the University of Georgia, Oxford College and Emory University, the University of West Georgia, Samford University and other colleges and universities in Georgia and around the United States.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

Executive Editor Alice Queen contributed to this article.

SideBar: Eastside High School Graduation

· Location: Church In The Now

· Number of Graduates: 242

· Valedictorian: Marley Cain

· Salutatorian: Brittany Mayo

· Class Song: "Wherever You May Go" by Judah Swilley