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Salem students were anxious for graduation

Looks like it's double the pleasure for both Mom Shannon Heath and graduates Caleb (left) and Corbin Heath as they proudly display those SHS dipolomas.

Looks like it's double the pleasure for both Mom Shannon Heath and graduates Caleb (left) and Corbin Heath as they proudly display those SHS dipolomas.

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These Salem graduates appear to be taking the emotion of the day differently, but each is anticipating what their new role in life will be. Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

CONYERS -- On a bright summer morning, Salem High School graduates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.

"Everyone's been waiting so long for the future to come, and it's finally here," said 2012 salutatorian Stephanie Brassard.

Excited students waited anxiously as the hour of graduation drew nearer.

Soon enough, the processional began.

Salem faculty, members of the Rockdale County Board of Education and Superintendent Samuel King led the way onto the football field. This was the last graduation that King presided over during his tenure as superintendent of Rockdale County Public Schools.

The familiar sounds of "Pomp and Circumstance" signaled the arrival of the graduating seniors. They smiled, waved and basked in their achievement.

"Today marks a new chapter of our lives," said Malcolm Harris, president of the class of 2012. "Today we stand here together as one, unified and standing for excellence."

Billy Nguyen gave the charge to the class of 2012, being frank about the world that they would have to face.

"It's broken," he said, adding a challenge for his classmates to fix it and to make the most out of their lives. "High school is something you complete. Life is something you experience. From the moment you leave this field, you must begin choosing and creating your own path."

The new graduates were thrilled about the new prospects that their futures hold.

Amari Norman said that she was most excited about "finally being an adult, having my high school diploma, finally going into the military and getting to do what I want with my life."

Other students were just as excited about the graduation ceremony itself. Kevin Whitter, who will attend Georgia Southern University in the fall, liked "seeing friends and thinking about the good times we had in high school, and seeing everyone else for one more time."