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Alcovy High students turn their tassels | PHOTOS

Alcovy High graduates more than 300 Friday night

Alcovy High School seniors,left to right, Raine Cooper, Javier Flores, Jami Floyd, Brieonna Wilcox and Daijaunique Forte share a smile before commencement ceremonies Friday night. More than 300 Alcovy seniors received diplomas in the ceremony. (Staff Photo: Shannon Peacock)

Alcovy High School seniors,left to right, Raine Cooper, Javier Flores, Jami Floyd, Brieonna Wilcox and Daijaunique Forte share a smile before commencement ceremonies Friday night. More than 300 Alcovy seniors received diplomas in the ceremony. (Staff Photo: Shannon Peacock)

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Morgan Fincher gives her feet a break before the ceremony began at Springfield Baptist Church. Alcovy graduates have been accepted to 51 different colleges and universities and have been offered more than $6.5 million in scholarships. (Staff Photo: Shannon Peacock)

COVINGTON — Spirits ran high for family and friends of Alcovy High School’s graduating class as cheers, whistles, shouts and applause rang through the sanctuary at Springfield Baptist Church Friday night.

More than 300 seniors received diplomas in commencement ceremonies that kicked off a weekend of graduations for Newton County high schools.

Dr. Douglas Blackwell, assistant principal of Newton College and Career Academy, recognized graduates who attended NCCA. Reciting a poem by Edgar A. Guest, “See It Through,” he concluded:

“You may fail, but fall still fighting;

Don’t give up, whate’er you do;

Eyes front, head high to the finish.

See it through!”

Principal Dr. Sandra Owens recognized the class for being offered more than $6.5 million in scholarships and for their acceptance into 51 colleges and universities.

In her remarks to students, Owens said a heartfelt “farewell” to the class, noting that their graduation “closes a chapter on one of the more memorable times in my life.”

One of her fondest memories, she said, was the way the class reacted to a bitter loss to a football rival with dignity and respect.

“I have never experienced such maturity from a senior class in all my years as an educator … You are special; don’t ever let anybody convince you that you’re not,” she said.

Salutatorian Victoria Wardlow told her classmates that it’s OK to be unprepared and inexperienced about the “real world.” They are accustomed to dealing with the unexpected, she said.

“Our class is going to go out and prove that we can handle this world better than we handled high school. I mean, we went through three principals in a 12-month period, and we handled that brilliantly,” Wardlow said to laughter and applause. “We’ve had a blast learning to handle it all here. Now it’s time to have our fun in the ‘real world.’”

In her remarks to classmates, Valedictorian Leslie Ochei said that graduation is not the high point of their lives.

“I sincerely hope that we all keep topping this moment so that by the time we are reaching the end of our lives, we actually have trouble choosing what those best moments were,” she said.

Ochei encouraged her classmates to view graduation as a “celebration of us.”

“Never forget to step out of your comfort zones, to not hold yourselves back, and to thank those who have brought you here!” she said.