Ryan Naus gave Board of Trustees President J. Timothy Shelnut a high-five after he received his diploma.
His graduating daughter Jessica gave him a hug.
And when it was over, 44 Augusta Preparatory Day School graduates had their diplomas in hand and were ready to take on the next phase of life.
The commencement ceremony Sunday at First Baptist Church was a time of joy and sadness for the small, tight-knit class.
"It's kind of bittersweet - happy tears and sad," Caitlin Burley said, wiping her eyes.
New graduates of Augusta Prep listen to the commencement address by Dr. Thomas C. Meredith, chancellor of the University System of Georgia on Sunday at First Baptist Church.
Photo by Michael Holahan
Ted Clarkson said the ceremony was a celebration of four years of hard work.
"I love these people so much, and to see everyone so happy is just the greatest thing," he said.
In her speech to her class, valedictorian Kathryn Johnson urged her classmates to remember the lessons and the values they learned at Augusta Prep and to strive to make the world a better place.
"When you see something that needs to be done, do it," she said. "Do not ignore a problem and just hope that someone else will deal with it or that it will go away. Change something. Have a positive impact."
Dr. Thomas C. Meredith, the chancellor of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, was the commencement speaker. He turned the podium toward the graduates behind him to offer some practical advice.
Among his words of wisdom: Go to class; take great notes; get involved in clubs, organizations and cultural events; and use good English.
"Don't be satisfied with things easily in your grasp," Meredith said. "Think big and stretch yourselves. Be a visionary. ... Always give more than is expected of you at school, with your family and at church. Never give what someone asks you to; always give more."
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