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Posted: May 24, 2009 12:30 a.m.

‘We are so proud’

High schools honor top 10 new graduates

Brittany Thomas/

The best of the best: The top 10 students from each of the three schools were celebrated Friday night.

For the last 44 years the Newton County Rotary Club has taken great pride in honoring the top students in the county with their annual Top10 awards and this year was no exception when the best and brightest Newton County has to offer were celebrated Friday night.

The award ceremony, which was hosted by Covington Police Chief and Rotarian Stacey Cotton, kicked off with a welcome by Rotary president Doug Bolton.

"Many students have been honored in the past and have gone on to do great things," he said, looking at the 30 students collected – the top ten from each high school. "We expect you as the top 10 to do great things as well."

Newton County School Superintendent Steve Whatley addressed the students as well.

"I congratulate you, I wish you the very best and I thank you for your outstanding achievements," he told the students, their parents and their teachers.

"I wish you would think for a moment and focus on the steps you will be taking," he continued. "You are taking a big step. Stepping out into this world – a world of change and challenges – and I would urge you to remember now, as you step our into life, that you do so with courage and remember that life is now your school.

"We are recognizing the top 10 of three schools," Whatley continued. "Many of you have not had to experience failure. But you may learn from it because you don’t know what you’re made of until you have to rise to the challenge. We wish the best to our class of 2009."

Alcovy High School

Jessica Marie Dull recognized Jennifer Bowman as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend college and enter a nursing program.

Sherry Lynn Hall recognized Ryan Denison as her favorite teacher. She plans to enter a nursing program.

Robert Samuel Jones recognized Amanda Restivo-Reyes as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend the University of Georgia and major in banking and finance.

Bryan Hamilton Mathis recognized Bill Gibbons as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend Georgia State College and study business management.

Russell Anthony Oliveri recognized Charles Gammel as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend college and study computer science.

Kimberly Michelle Rary recognized Karen Booth as her favorite teacher. She plans on attending the University of Georgia in the school’s honors program and major in education.

Audrey Slutsky recognized Charles Grammel as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend Georgia Tech and major in chemical engineering.

Robert Shannon Snipes recognized Angela Cooper as his favorite teacher. He plans on attending the University of Georgia and double major in biology and criminal justice.

Marcus Thomas recognized Joyce Dieringer as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend North Georgia College and State University and major in pre-med, biology and chemistry.

Torrieana Shantia Triplett recognized Anita Anderson as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend Agnes Scott College and major in chemistry.

Mary Elizabeth Wright recognized Cristi Johnson as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend the University of Alabama to major in biology.

"This is one of my favorite things as a principal," said AHS principal Dave Easterday. "It is what keeps us doing what we do every day and it is what makes it all worthwhile. We are extremely proud of these students and we wish them all the best."

Eastside High School

James Randall Brewer recognized Michelle Kennedy as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend college.

Brittany Nicole Gaynes recognized Lin Lindsay as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend West Georgia College.

Katie Anne Glidewell recognized Leo Mallard as her favorite teacher. She plans on attending North Georgia College & State University to major in athletic training.

Courtney Blu Jackson recognized Alan Fowler as her favorite teacher. She plans on attending the University of Georgia to double major in political science and international affairs.

Jowanna Renae Malone recognized Bart Buff as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend Harvard University and major in Latin/Classics.

Elizabeth Rose Slaughter recognized Dennis Jones as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend the University of Georgia as a pre-med major.

Elizabeth Rose Stillerman recognized Joel Singleton as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend Zion University to study dance.

Ariel Joanne VanLeuven recognized Judy Smith as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend the University of Georgia and major in genetics or biochemistry.

Kaylie Michelle Waters recognized Michelle Kennedy as her favorite teacher. She plans on attending Mercer University to major in either education or nursing.

Leaha Ashley Wynn recognized Eric Adams as her favorite teacher. She plans to Harvard University and major in Classics.

"I am extremely proud of them," said EHS principal Robert Daria. "It is always nice to honor the students and to see what we really have in Newton County. I hope these students come back to Newton County – we grow good kids here, as evidenced by those standing on that stage."

EHS Band Director, and one of the honored teachers, Alan Fowler pointed out that five of the top 10 students from EHS were in band or color guard, something that gave him a great amount of pride. "It’s really amazing to watch them go from little kids to this. I’m just so proud of all of them."

Newton High School

Brian Walter Breckon recognized Nilesh Patel as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend Georgia Perimeter College and attend Valdosta State or the University of Georgia to earn a degree in exercise science.

Vanessa Doyley recognized Rick Rasmussen as her favorite teacher. Her goal in life is to break barriers.

Andrew Kabue recognized Rita Hector as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend college and major in biology.

Sarah Louisa Lanners recognized Diana Brown as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend Davidson College and major in religion.

Danielle Marie Mikula recognized Jason LaChappelle as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend the University of West Georgia to pursue a career in physical therapy.

Geoffrey Todd Nolan recognized Shannon Buff as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend the University of Georgia in their honors program and major in cellular biology and religion.

Julia Kirsten Richardson recognized Rathan Kersey as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend Georgia College and State University.

Kaylan Corine Storey recognized Coleen Amman as her favorite teacher. She plans to attend Western Carolina University and major in communications with public relations.

Corey Allen Ware recognized Sherman Smith as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend the United States Naval Academy and major in aerospace engineering.

Johnathan Bowers Wells recognized Lisa Oswald as his favorite teacher. He plans to attend the University of Georgia and double major in animal science and agricultural communications.

"These students are true ambassadors of Newton High School," said NHS principal Dr. Roderick Sams. "I am extremely proud to be a part of this group and I am proud to be their principal."

Newton County School System board of education member Almond Turner attended the awards banquet, as did fellow BOE members Cathy Dobbs and Eddie Johnson.

"Our county turns out a lot of very prosperous students and we are very proud of them," Turner said. "I’m sure that I speak for the board when I say that we are so proud of their accomplishments now and of those that I am sure they will make in the future."

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