Trevor Huggins offers high-fives to his teachers after the Augusta Prep graduation ceremony.
How does one leave 47 friends all in one day? This appeared to be the common reflection among Augusta Preparatory Day School seniors at their graduation ceremony on May 28 at First Baptist Church on Walton Way.
"I'm glad it's over, but I'm sad at the same time, because I'm leaving all my friends since the sixth grade," said Cameron King, who will attend the University of Georgia in the fall.
Jack Hall, the headmaster, said at least five of the graduating seniors have attended the school since kindergarten.
"I've been here 13 years. I feel like I'm leaving all my family," said Deanna Reid, who will move to Alabama to attend Auburn University.
The idea of the friends parting their separate ways even had an effect on some members of the faculty. Helen Stephens, the director of development, said she was "mourning them leaving ... They've worked so hard ... They've come together ... bonded. They are 47 best friends. It's bittersweet."
Several young men in the group had a different way of handling the mix of emotions. As they waited in their appropriate places in line for the processional to begin, seniors Peter Newlin, Parker Odom, Cole Portney, and Benjamin Prescott sang He's Got the Whole World In His Hands, while clapping the rhythm.
King, the service club president, began the ceremony with the invocation, followed by the welcome by Abigail Alexander, the student council president. Abigail's welcome speech caused laughter as she explained how her class was nicknamed the "special needs" class because of their many pranks.
In her valedictorian address, Mary Hannah Lynn quoted part of the speech her father gave in his own valedictorian speech years before, stressing the ability each person has to leave a legacy. She also spoke of the common bond of friendship the 2005 class possessed. She reminded her classmates "We do not always mesh because we are not afraid to speak our minds ... but we agree to disagree ... and we didn't just make it, but we made sure everyone around us knows we made it ... I'm going to miss all of you ..."
Salutatorian Alexander Abate introduced the commencement speaker, Dr. James F. Barker, president of Clemson University.
Barker challenged the 2005 class to experience a "life well-lived." He gave "a call for each of us to help ... publicly ... privately ... change the world ... even if we just change one person's life." Barker also noted the average SAT score at Prep, 1280, is higher than the average SAT score of freshmen entering Clemson, which is 1258. Cary Gibson, the senior class vice president, presented the senior class gift, a Cavalier's mascot costume.
"Our school spirit shows our devotion to Prep," Cary said. "We give this costume ... so our spirit can live on forever."
Timothy Shelnut, the president of the board of trustees, awarded diplomas to the 47 graduates. Following a charge to the class by Hall, the benediction was given by Thomas Bell, the student council vice president.
"It's been a long wait. I'm glad it's over," Taylor Unger said. "But this senior year went by way too fast."
Best and Brightest
The Augusta Chronicle recognizes the 25 outstanding members of the Class of 2005 - the winners of our Best and Brightest Awards.
Lists of graduates
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