Graduating with top honors: 45 graduates had a cumulative GPA of 90 or higher
Shanice Addison - Adrienne Andrews - Caitlyn Austin - Courtney Badger - Patrick Bean - Brittany Berhorst - Blaine Bunting - Ariana Carby - Emily Carrier - Morgan Crowley - Kristopher Duncan - Morgan Fernlin - Savannah Fincham - Morgan Gatch - Jennifer Gaughran - Jessica Gojanovich - Evelyn Greene - Danielle Hankins - Delyna Hoang -Lavonda Houston - Joshua Hutchinson -Christopher Jimenez - Tanisha Kindley - Cynthia Kornegay - Allison Lane - Kelly McCall - Brittany Mears - Jaleel Menifee - Makaila Mueller - Caitlynn Neely - Courtney Neely - Tyler Phillips - Michael Purser - Jasmine Quarterman - Christina Rambharose - Auraleigha Reneau - James Ripley - De'Linlee Rouse - Jamie Seale - Eun Bi Seo - Cedric Smith - Jasmina Smith - Ashleigh Thompson -Karren Walthour - Jasmine Williams
Department Awards: The following students were recognized for accomplishments within the school's departments
English: Caitlyn Austin - Fine Arts: Morgan Fermin - Mathematics: Morgan Crowley - Abraham Williams Memorial award: Marques Quarterman - Physical Education: Antonio Smith - Science: Christopher Jimenez - Social Studies: Kristopher Duncan - Technical/Career Education: Essence Albea
For 217 Liberty County High School graduates, Saturday was a milestone.
Family members in the crowd that filled Donell Woods Stadium hooted and hollered throughout the ceremony and as graduates entered to “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Valedictorian Emily Carrier welcomed students with an inspirational poem, and Senior Class treasurer Caitlyn Austin led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Senior Class president Tamontray Tucker offered a reflection on the class.
“For many students, today might be the best day of their lives, because high school has ended and we are able to embark on the independent journey of life …,” he said. “It’s never just a dream anymore. It begins here. It begins today.”
In his speech, Salutatorian Christopher Jimenez offered a summary of his classmates’ accomplishments.
“I’d like to begin with a simple question. If I were to give each of you $86,400 every day for the rest of your life, what would you spend it on? …” he asked. “There are 86,400 seconds in each and every single day. You can never get them back at the end of the day, but if you spend them wisely, you can accomplish so much.”
Forty-five of the seniors graduated with honors, and 119 completed more than one of the pathways required to graduate, he said. There are 84 HOPE scholarship recipients, 27 Zell Miller scholarship recipients, eight students who earned athletic scholarships, and 41 community and university scholarship recipients.
School administrators and members of the Liberty County Board of Education handed diplomas.
“It reminds you of your own graduation and going off to college,” Chairwoman Lily Baker said. “But it’s always exciting when you see youth accomplish.”
The occasion was especially triumphant for Makaila Mueller and her family.
Despite a three-year battle with a mysterious gastro-intestinal problem that threatened her life, Mueller graduated with honors.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I’m happy to finally graduate and start the rest of my life. Basically … it’s the beginning of everything.”
She completed much of her coursework from home and hospitals and has been accepted to Georgia Southern University.
After the ceremony, Mueller took photos with family while her grandmother Nancy McKnew beamed. McKnew gave Mueller a seven-day cruise with stops in Mexico to celebrate.
“I can’t think of anybody more deserving … She has such incredible stamina and determination,” McKnew said.
“I’m doing a lot better now, I’m feeling a lot better,” Mueller added. “At some point, I hope that it will heal, and I don’t think I will have many limitations.”