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Graduating Rams earn $9.1 million in scholarships

These Newton High School friends will carry many fond memories with them as they go forward from graduation. Shown here with NHS tennis coach Michael Bryan are (l-r) Allie Brazelton, Trinity Kinnon, Tenia Morgan, Presley Trevino, Alexis Eames and MaryAnn Key. All but Key are members of the tennis team. -- Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

These Newton High School friends will carry many fond memories with them as they go forward from graduation. Shown here with NHS tennis coach Michael Bryan are (l-r) Allie Brazelton, Trinity Kinnon, Tenia Morgan, Presley Trevino, Alexis Eames and MaryAnn Key. All but Key are members of the tennis team. -- Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

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The finishing touch is sometimes the most important. Newton grad Taylor Belton helps Chase Dial with his mortar board prior to the commencement ceremony. Dial was a recipient of the Principal's Award for being a great role model.

COVINGTON -- Even as temperatures hovered around 90 degrees and family and friends had to keep cool with bottles of water, they could not help but smile when their graduates walked onto Sharp Field on graduation night.

Newton High School's class of 2012 closed out Newton County graduation ceremonies on Saturday evening at Homer Sharp Stadium.

"Looking forward, I see nothing but opportunity," said 2012 Valedictorian Stephanie Lightsey. "We all think we're grown, but we have so much growing to do. We should never stop growing."

She encouraged fellow classmates to live up to their potential and to make changes instead of complaining.

"Yesterday, we were high school students, and today we are graduates," she said. "The future is bright because we're all part of it."

School Principal Craig Lockhart congratulated students for earning more than $9.1 million in scholarships, compared to $8.8 million for last year's graduating class.

He also gave out several awards, including the Principal's Award for being a great role model to Ashley Greene and Chase Dial, the $1,000 Porter Memorial Scholarship for earning the highest GPA to Lightsey, an award for having perfect attendance from kindergarten through 12th grade to Tiana Payne and the Atlanta Journal Constitution Award for being the best all around senior for Salutatorian Kelsey Upton.