Students at both of Bryan County’s public high schools graduated Saturday in ceremonies in Pembroke and Savannah.
Here’s a look at each:
Bryan County High School
Bryan County High School Class of 2009 graduated 123 Seniors, including 25 Honors graduates, Saturday at the school’s gym in Pembroke.
The arson months ago that left the foyer burnt and the entire gym smelling of smoke was no deterrent for the ceremony much anticipated by many, according to Principal Harold Roach.
"Paul Davis Restoration made it a personal goal to have the gym ready for us this morning," he said.
Amid a stage surrounded by student grown flowers and produced arrangements, Roach said that after four years of unforgettable memories, he offered some further advice.
"Continue to work hard and do your very best everyday," he said.
Singing duet, Ashley DeBose and Christina Cook expressed the bittersweetness of growing up with their version of country song ‘Then They Do."
Salutatorian Sasha Morgan spoke of dreams, accomplishments past and future, and reminded everyone of the tragedy endured with the loss of classmate Heather Arthur who should have been among Saturday’s graduating class.
In Arthur’s memory, a table displayed her cap, gown, diploma, a single red rose, and a place card reserving her place in the graduating class.
Valedictorian Amber Morgan said they had reached a day they looked forward to forever.
"We have worked so hard, and we are ready to open up a new door to our lives," Morgan said.
"Whatever that you do, remember who you are, where you came from, and do not forget the values that you’ve been taught," she said. "Life is not going to be easy. We will all have our own share of tribulations and pain, but keep your head up and remember that you are a Redskin."
Richmond Hill High School
More than 1,000 attendees packed the stands of the Armstrong Atlantic University gymnasium for the graduation ceremony of Richmond Hill High School’s class of 2009.
Two hundred and sixty two students graduated from RHHS this year. RHHS Principal Charles Spann said this year’s senior class has achieved more academically than any others before them. The seniors collectively were awarded a record $9 million in scholarship offers.
The ceremony began with a speech by valedictorian Kaitlyn Berry, who challenged her fellow classmen to "make more of yourselves than just high school graduates. Go out into this world and make your voice heard and your name known."
Berry lightened the mood in her closing statements, acknowledging that the families of the graduates "are extremely proud of you. You can’t imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing. This would be the most opportune time to ask for money."