CONYERS -- Eastside High School's 299 graduates made their principal proud as they graduated Saturday afternoon.
"When I looked out there the first year you arrived, I had my doubts," said Eastside Principal Dennis Roddenberry. "But you've hung in there and made us very proud."
Eastside's class of 2011 could be the last school graduating from Church In The Now, as the church is in foreclosure.
"This has been a longstanding relationship," Roddenberry said. "Over the last five years, they have gone above and beyond in all cases with us and our graduates. We do appreciate that."
The graduates said that while looking ahead to their futures, they've also reflected on their past, especially their time in high school.
"We survived 13 years of ups, downs, classes, sports and drama," said the 2011 salutatorian Melissa Greer. "We're done with high school, and now it's time to move on to the real world."
She encouraged her fellow graduates to live life to the fullest no matter what their next step in life is, including college, the military or just taking a break.
"Make sure you do something memorable," she said. "We should make the most of it. ... Work hard, have fun and enjoy life."
Valedictorian Kim Waters said she will remember things like Friday night football games and the "We Made It" rap from the last pep rally.
"Looking back, you have to admit that everyday was a great day to be an Eagle," she said. "This is a time to be happy. ... I have a feeling we'll all be successful in life if we just take that chance."
Roddenberry said the 2011 graduates have accepted $1.8 million in scholarships, not including HOPE funds. He also recognized Leah Smith for being accepted to the U.S. Air Force Academy, which is the first appointment in more than 10 years for Eastside.
"We're exceedingly proud of your accomplishments, which are many," said Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews to the graduates.