Applause and cheers filled the cafeteria at Richmond Hill high school Thursday evening when the top seniors in the class of 2013 were recognized for various academic achievements.
Also during the ceremony, Principal Debi McNeal announced that Ly Nguyen would be this year’s valedictorian, while Yuphie Wang was named salutatorian. The announcements garnered a standing ovation from the crowd and cheers of encouragement from fellow students.
With a smile, McNeal told the graduating class she would always remember them.
"Class of 2013, I’m proud to call you my very first graduating class as a principal,” she said. “You will always hold a very special place in my heart.”
Two memorial scholarships were given during the ceremony also. The Katie Brookshire Memorial Scholarship in memory of a 1998 graduate of RHHS, each year goes to a senior who exemplifies the qualities that Katie Brookshire did, according to her brother and scholarship presenter Brad Brookshire. This year’s recipient was Ashley Kennedy.
Lisa Freeman was on hand to present a scholarship created in honor of her son, the Capt. Matthew Freeman Memorial Scholarship. Freeman said the scholarship goes to a senior each year who exemplifies traits Matthew Freeman had. This year’s scholarship went to Ryan Morrissey.
Other scholarships presented included the Coca-Cola scholarship, Richmond Hill Lion’s Club Scholarship, the Richmond Hill Mason’s scholarship, Richmond Hill Exchange Club student of the year and more.
Senior athlete Brian Strahan, who will play baseball at Piedmont College, received a $48,000 scholarship to use over four years at the college. He also received the RHHS Homerun Club Scholarship.
Tristan Raub received a $63,000 Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship. Other ROTC scholarships were presented to students who joined the Army National Guard.
Guidance counselor Thomas Swinford told the class and about 100 attendees that this year’s seniors had racked up more than $4 million in scholarships.
Three students received awards that were chosen by the administration, McNeal said. Krysten Hardee, homecoming queen and volleyball player, was named student of the year. Cayman Cardiff, senior class president, received the Leadership Award, and the citizenship award went to Lauren Barrett, who was not at the ceremony because she was working.
McNeal told the group she was proud of their accomplishments and knew their class would leave a lasting impression.
Graduation for RHHS is set for 2 p.m. May 25 at the Savannah Civic Center in downtown Savannah.