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RCHS graduates look back on high school moments

Rockdale County High School graduates Michael Betts and Chelsea Bilbrey sneak a peek at their diplomas during ceremonies Thursday night at Robert Reid Stadium.  They, along with the 378 others who comprise the class of 2012, are deservedly proud of the effort they've put in to achieve graduate status. Staff Photos by Lee Depkin

Rockdale County High School graduates Michael Betts and Chelsea Bilbrey sneak a peek at their diplomas during ceremonies Thursday night at Robert Reid Stadium. They, along with the 378 others who comprise the class of 2012, are deservedly proud of the effort they've put in to achieve graduate status. Staff Photos by Lee Depkin

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Graduation Day is a time for smiles. Here, RCHS candidates Amala Johnson, Hannah Godwin and LeJenae Johnson anxiously wait in the staging area before lining up to march onto the field at Reid Stadium to receive their diplomas, but can't keep those smiles from coming through.

CONYERS -- One student called high school successful, another said it was filled with valleys and another called it unforgettable.

Whatever it was to them, 380 Rockdale County High school seniors said goodbye to high school and hello to the next phase of their lives. For about 60 percent of them, that means attending a four-year college like Georgia State University or the University of West Georgia; other students are planning to attend two-year colleges, technical schools or join the military.

The class coined themselves simply "212," the degree at which water boils. With students having accepted more than $1.6 million in academic and athletic scholarships already, students had the right to say they were ready to conquer the world.

"Twelve years ago, we walked down the halls of elementary school, not knowing what was in store for our future," said Shantesica Gilliam, senior class president. "Twelve days ago, we were counting down to this very moment. Twelve hours ago, we realized that this day has now come."

Kellina Fair, senior class Magnet representative, encouraged students to set their goals high.

"Never settle for less than you deserve," she said. "Put that chin up, and always keep in mind that all that stands between us and the top of the ladder is the ladder itself."

Magnet salutatorian Janki Patel reminded students that they were graduating after overcoming the challenge of high school.

"As you face new challenges and obstacles in the future, remember all you have learned these past few years, whether it was something you learned in math class or a life lesson a friend taught you," she said. "Smile a lot, laugh a lot and do what you love."