Hundreds of Columbia County private school students celebrated with tears and laughter on the last day of school Friday.
Both Augusta Christian School and Augusta Preparatory Day School dismissed their student bodies for summer vacation. Most of the high-school level students had been released earlier in the week, but each school held a special assembly to say goodbye and recognize their middle- and elementary-level students.
"I just want to hang out at home," said Brittany Cipollone, 12, who will enterseventh grade at Augusta Christian in the fall. "But I am going to miss my friends."
Graduating seniors were a little more excited about leaving behind the school they once called a second home.
"I already had most of the credits I needed to graduate my junior year, so I was able to take it a little easy my senior year," Erin Swearingen said. . "It really gave me a chance to spend some time with my friends before I have to say goodbye to them."
Rachael Friedman, 7, says farewell to her first-grade teacher Mrs. Susan Reynolds on the last day of school for Augusta Prepatory Day School.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Many students, faculty and graduates had another reason to celebrate.
"This year we've been celebrating the 45th anniversary of Augusta Christian," said Lynn , school activities director. "We'll have a big celebration tonight with many graduates and former graduates as a thank you for making the school a success."
Augusta Prep also had reason to celebrate, Head of Schools JackHallsaid.
"It's been a great school year all the way across the board," Mr. Hallsaid. "Academically we've had an incredibly strong year. We had the state runner-up star student. Twenty percent of our senior class was recognized by the National Merit Foundation. Athletically we've won two state championships and two state runner-ups. We had 44 all-state athletes. We were the first high school in the state of Georgia to produce Les Miserables, which was a huge success this fall."
Unfortunately, the school is losing six teachers next year, most of whom will be moving to other cities, Mr. Hall said.
Augusta Christian fourth- grade teacher Viola Howard hugs former pupil Brandon Broone, 10, on the last day of school.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
Fayelyn Bilodeau, 13, relished the thought of moving to eighth grade in the fall and being on the top rung of the middle school.
"It'll be nice to be on top," she said. "I plan to set a good example, most of the time."
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