CONYERS - A rainstorm was brewing as students made their way into the Church In The Now on Friday, but the skies had cleared and there were nothing but blue skies ahead as they exited a few hours later, emerging as the 2008 graduates of Rockdale County High School and the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology.
"My fellow graduates," said RCHS Valedictorian Kelsey Hinely, "where we are right now, this very ceremony, is the culmination of 13 years of hard work, four of which we are celebrating tonight. Most of us have been in the same building these last four years, making our own impressions and becoming the leaders in whatever we've chosen to do. ... It has also been a time of growing up, of finding our identities, of stretching out our strengths, and of making our share of friends, but hopefully not enemies.
"This is a great time in our lives," she concluded. "We just made it through 13 years of work. Let's congratulate ourselves, move on and work our hardest, knowing that there is a world of possibilities. We're not promised tomorrow, so make the best of what you have today."
Also speaking Friday night were RCHS Salutatorian Miriam Perfecto, Magnet Salutatorian Jim Creager, Magnet Valedictorian Nayoon Kim and Senior Class President Joshua Mathis.
In a senior class profile, counselor Khalisha Sabree announced that students at the school, including the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology, were accepted to such four-year schools as the University of Georgia, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard, Wake Forest, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Notre Dame, while others are planning to attend Georgia Perimeter and DeKalb Technical College and other schools in Georgia and around the United States.
Students at RCHS are set to accept more than $200,000 in scholarship money, not including the HOPE scholarship, with more offers expected to be finalized over the summer. At the Magnet School, its 29 students already have accepted $819,995 of more than $3.8 million in offers with more offers possible over the summer.
SideBar: At A Glance
Rockdale County High School, Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology
Location: Church In The Now
Number of Graduates: 310
RCHS Valedictorian: Kelsey Hinely
Magnet Valedictorian: Nayoon Kim
Magnet Salutatorian: Jim Creager
Class Songs: "You Raise Me Up" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"