For Noah Mazzola, accepting his high school diploma Friday was more about the destination than the journey.
The 18-year-old Lakeside High graduate had to take economics and algebra in summer school to graduate and it didn't bother him that he had to wait more than a month after his classmates received their diplomas to earn his.
"I feel like it doesn't matter how we got here," he said. "We all made it to the same place."
Mazzola was among one of the larger summer school classes in Columbia County's history.
The number of Columbia County students graduating from summer school more than doubled compared with last year as 31 students took part in the ceremony and five more could have, but chose not to attend, said Michael Canady, the system's director of career and technology education.
Summer school Principal Ed Williams credited counselors and graduation coaches for the swelled enrollment numbers.
"They did a great job of giving the kids options like classes, online courses and virtual schools," he said.
Once more grades come in, another 30 students might also receive diplomas, he said.
"No glitz. No glory. You did what it took, what it takes to accomplish your goals," Williams said in his commencement address.
Williams, who is assistant principal at Greenbrier High, where the graduation ceremony was held, asked the graduates to remember the lessons they learned in high school -- proper dress, good conduct and expected behavior -- as they will benefit them should they choose to continue their education or enter the work force.
"Do an honest day's work for an honest day's paycheck or grade," he said.
Mazzola hopes to adhere to Williams' advice when he starts classes this fall at Aiken Technical College. For now, though, he just wants to take a break.
"I'm just glad to be out," he said.
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