Grovetown Middle School teachers pumped their fists into the air and let out a cheer as the final busload of pupils rolled out of the parking lot Friday, the last day of the school year.
Many of those pupils hung their arms and heads out of the windows as they waved goodbye, some for the final time.
The eighth-grade class at Grovetown Middle starts anew in August as the first freshman class of Grovetown High School.
Some eighth-graders didn't relish the thought of starting over in the pecking order.
"I hate that," said McKenzie Jeffs, 14. "We've worked all this time to get to the top and now we've got to start all over at the bottom."
Despite the four-year climb awaiting McKenzie to regain her social dominance, she said she's still enthusiastic about being among the students to open a new school.
"It's exciting," she said. "I've driven by it and it's huge."
Her classmate, 14-year-old Eddie Nelson, said Friday that he intends to involve himself as much as possible in his new school.
"I want to try to do everything I can," he said. "We're going to be the first class to go all the way through the new school and I want us to be remembered."
Though the school will contain many new faces from various parts of the county, Brandon Ridner, 14, said there will be some comfort in knowing most of his eighth-grade classmates will be there with him.
"I'll have a chance to make a lot of new friends, but it'll be nice having a lot of my friends already there," he said.
Brandon's sentiment is popular among the rising ninth-graders, Grovetown Middle Principal Tom Smallwood said.
"This is their school, a community school," he said. "These are Grovetown kids going to Grovetown High School. That's exciting for them."
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