Pictured are the top Newton High School students: Alexia Ardon, Amber Broughton, Aaron Cole, Imari Daniels, Alexis Duffey, Meg Gourley, valedictorian Alex Grady, salutatorian Brittain Hunt, Chrishandra Perkins and Daijah Walker.
COVINGTON -- The Rotary Club of Covington honored the top graduating seniors from each of Newton County's three high schools at a special ceremony Tuesday.
The club held its 48th annual Top Ten Banquet and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday evening at Alcovy High School. The program began in 1965, when the county only had one high school to honor; now the program honors the top students at Alcovy, Eastside and Newton high schools.
"These students we are celebrating are, simply put, the best of the best," said Dr. Gary Mathews, superintendent of the Newton County School System. "Each of our students had to decide somewhere along the way that they wanted to excel. They worked hard, they worked smart. They are reaping the rewards and will continue to do so in the short and distant futures."
Rotary member Keith Adams, who graduated from Newton County High School in 1988, spoke to students at the event about communication. He told them it was important for them to be able to carry on a conversation without electronic devices and awkward moments of silence.
"I have never texted my way through an interview," he said. "We've gotten lazy when it comes to conversation. ... If you follow the trends, you'll be unable to speak to people and have abnormally large thumbs."
He encouraged them to tell stories and listen to others.
"Put your phones down and get your heads up," he said. "Don't LOL -- go ahead and laugh out loud, and call the person and tell them it was funny."
He noted that every career choice they make will require them to communicate effectively to others.
Each of the Top 30 students selected their favorite teachers, who attended the program with them. Two Eastside High School teachers were chosen by three different students -- Latin teacher Eric Adams and chemistry teacher Judy Smith.
Each student and teacher were given a certificate.
Students and teachers honored from Alcovy High School are:
-- Sandy Aguilera, daughter of Sandra and Arturo Aguilera; favorite teacher, Bill Gibbons;
-- Briana Clark, daughter of Roger Clark and Debbie Henderson; favorite teacher, Amanda Briggs;
-- Sandy Davis, daughter of Troy and Julie Davis and Marcy and Robbie Floyd; favorite teacher, Troy Davis;
-- Derrick Felix, son of Myrtha and Ludrick Felix; favorite teacher, Kelly Musgrove;
-- D'Lexus Harvey, son of Catrinia White; favorite teacher, Jennifer Mason;
-- Jeffrey Jones, son of Joanna and Sammy Jones; favorite teacher, Anita Anderson;
-- Jansen Lindner, son of Shey and Kari Lindner; favorite teacher, Scott Rains;
-- Avree Martinez, daughter of Bobbie and Juan Martinez; favorite teacher, Marie Heard;
-- Lindsey McDonald, daughter of Melissa Hall; favorite teacher, Ryan Denison; and
-- Brandie Weathersby, daughter of Nikie and Benjamin Weathersby; favorite teacher, Anna Hebert.
Students and teachers honored from Eastside High School are:
-- Cameron Boyd, son of Roger and Gwen Boyd; favorite teacher, Lin Lindsay;
-- Haley Brickell, daughter of Greg and Connie Brickell; favorite teacher, Joel Singleton;
-- Musashi Briem, son of Karl and Kimie Briem; favorite teacher, Eric Adams;
-- Conner Bryan, son of Carey and Susie Bryan; favorite teacher, Eric Adams;
-- Joey Ellwanger, son of Gregg and Denise Ellwanger; favorite teacher, Tyler Smith;
-- Jazmin Ireland, daughter of Carrie Taylor and Ronald Ireland; favorite teacher, Eric Adams;
-- Bryant Johnson, son of Judge Horace and Michelle Johnson; favorite teacher, Michael Poor;
-- Lee Jourdan, son of Lee and Betsy Jourdan; favorite teacher, Judy Smith;
-- Julianna Laseter, daughter of Bill and Cathy Laseter; favorite teacher, Judy Smith; and
-- Mary Lathem, daughter of Jim and Leslie Lathem; favorite teacher, Judy Smith;Students and teachers honored from Newton High School are:
-- Alexia Ardon, daughter of Vilma Ardon; favorite teacher, Paige Meakins;
-- Amber Broughton, daughter of Kisha Foster and Aaron Broughton; favorite teacher, Evern Williams;
-- Aaron Cole, son of Nancy and Todd Cole; favorite teacher, Kandi Manning;
-- Imari Daniels, daughter of Karla Daniels; favorite teacher, Laurin Blanks;
-- Alexis Duffey, daughter of Jennifer and Phillip Duffey; favorite teacher, George Miles;
-- Meg Gourley, daughter of Leslie and James Gourley; favorite teacher, Kia James;
-- Alex Grady, son of Heidi and Lexiton Grady; favorite teacher, Aaron Robinson;
-- Brittain Hunt, son of Karen Clackum; favorite teacher, Colleen Amman;
-- Chrishandra Perkins, daughter of Melba Perkins; favorite teacher, Theresa Shields; and
-- Daijah Walker, daughter of Yolonda Walker; favorite teacher, Nick Jones.