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Alcovy celebrates 'first class' graduation

Photo: Thomas Spink. A senior chorus ensemble at Alcovy High School sings a "We Are the World" medley in honor of the late Michael Jackson during the school's graduation ceremonies at Church in the Now on Saturday afternoon. During the performance, many audience members clapped and sang along.

Photo: Thomas Spink. A senior chorus ensemble at Alcovy High School sings a "We Are the World" medley in honor of the late Michael Jackson during the school's graduation ceremonies at Church in the Now on Saturday afternoon. During the performance, many audience members clapped and sang along.

COVINGTON -- The 2010 graduation ceremony for Alcovy High School was an historic one.

The class of 2010 is the first graduating class to have completed all four years at the school, whch opened its doors for the 2005-06 school year. Additionally, the ceremony was the last for Newton County School System Superintendent Steven Whatley, who is retiring in June after more than 35 years in education. And for the first time, the school held its program at the Church in the Now in Conyers, instead of its gymnasium in southern Newton County.

"Today is a day of celebration and a time to rejoice," valedictorian Zach Bowers said. "(This is) truly the first class of Alcovy High School."

He said he is glad that the school has overcome being called "that other high school" to now having star athletic teams, larger graduating classes and even more grassy lawns. This year's class also is made up of several Governor's Honors Program participants, Division I athletes, a National Merit Scholarship recipient, several Athletes of the Week and many who received full-ride scholarships to post-secondary institutions.

"My dad always told me that it's OK to fail, but it's not OK to give up," he said. "We are the future; let us become the measure of greatness."

Salutatorian Elizabeth Darazs told her classmates to keep smiling throughout life and not worry about facing uncertain times, as they surely will do.

"Life passes us in the blink of an eye," she said. "The future is not something to be afraid of."

Principal LaQuanda Brown presented the AJC Cup award to Jonathan Betancourt for being a well-rounded student.