The 48 graduates of Augusta Prep marked the final class of 2013 Columbia County commencement exercises Saturday, June 1, in an afternoon procession at Boardman Athletic Center.
The celebratory air highlighted the achievements of the private school, where every senior has been accepted to college and the dropout rate, noted valedictorian Harry Owen, “is zero.”
“I challenge you all to decide today, on the day marking your crowning achievement thus far in your lives, to determine that you will be great by remembering the great gifts put in front of you, and by minimizing your regrets,” Owen told his classmates. “As long as you hold in your mind these two principles, there is no limit to what you can achieve.”
The commencement address was delivered by Dr. Eric Schoomaker, whose students attended Prep for three years while he was commander of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon. Schoonover later retired as the U.S. Army surgeon general and commanding general of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and now serves as the scholar in residence of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.
He urged the students to take their mythological “heroes journey” by being “self-reflective and courageous.
“Confront self-doubt and resist naysayers, as well as those peddling quick solutions and get-rich-quick schemes,” Schoomaker said. “You strike balance between self-interest and leaving an orderly community, and to contribute to the community’s shared values and well-being.”
Schoomaker drew sustained applause when he noted the graduation also marks the retirement as upper school Principal Jan Hicks, who was commanding general at Fort Gordon during his tenure at Eisenhower.
In a nod to the athletic achievements of the graduates, class President Margaret Delaney Morgan presented as the Class of 2013 gift to the school a $3,000 donation to hang banners at the new Cavalier Stadium, soon to be constructed on the campus.
The class was part of six state championships and 19 region championships during its tenure, Morgan noted.