By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Newton High School graduates largest class in nearly 20 years
A graduating senior class member of 2024 is all smiles during the start of Newton High Commencement Exercises at Sharp Stadium on Wednesday, May.jpg

Seniors in Newton High School’s class of 2024 officially concluded their high school chapters on Wednesday. 

One-by-one, over 600 students received their high school diplomas at Sharp Stadium during Newton High’s annual commencement ceremony. 

Class valedictorian, Tre’Von Davis highlighted in his address how Wednesday marked more than just a conclusion, but also a beginning. 

Subsequently, Davis urged his fellow graduates to heed to three “tokens of advice.”

“First, let us aim to live life open-minded, willing to welcome perspectives, philosophies and possibilities uncommon from our own,” Davis said. “Secondly, let us learn to endure the trials life may bring by developing a prominent spirit of perseverance as only change comes through challenge. Lastly, let us remember that we are the authors of our own stories. Only we define who we are, what we desire and what we will achieve.” 

After Ma’Kariya James led the Pledge of Allegiance, class president Jayla Kennedy had a similar message in her welcome. 

Kennedy gave shout outs to the future artists, athletes, fashion designers, doctors, lawyers and business owners from the group. 

Kennedy had a special note to share for all graduates, too.

“As we step into the unknown, let us carry with us the lessons learned within these halls — Perseverance, resilience and the power of community. Each of us holds within us the potential to shape the world in our own unique way,” Kennedy said. “Whether we pursue further education, into the workforce, serve our country or embark on a different path altogether. Let us never forget  the impact we can have on those around us.” 

Before “signing out,” Kennedy took a selfie with her fellow graduates from the podium.

Dr. Shannon Buff, Newton High’s principal, relayed some statistics concerning the class of 2024. 

Buff shared that this is the largest graduating class in nearly 20 years. The class’ scholarship total equates to $73.2 million, which eclipses the class of 2023’s $64 million. 

Thirty one students each received $500,000-plus, too, in scholarship money.

Among the graduates are students going to colleges such as MIT, Georgia Tech, Spelman, Cornell, Howard and the University of Georgia. 

Buff asks herself each year, “What sets each class apart?” She arrived at a particular conclusion concerning the class of 2024.

“Many of you did not enter our building until the second semester of your sophomore year. However, you are the largest class we have had in almost 20 years, with more than 640 graduates. Despite your size, you are truly a close knit student body and your class has made the administrative team more than just about any other.” 

Buff continued by recollecting memories she has with the students, including “beating Grayson at their place.” 

At the end of her remarks, Buff presented an award to one exemplary Ram.

Buff announced that Jabez Jenkins was the recipient of the 2024 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Cup. 

In her remarks, Buff utilized a plethora of adjectives to describe Jenkins — Published author, entrepreneur, academically sound student and someone who is involved in athletics and other extracurricular activities.

Whatever Newton High School’s class of 2024 graduates have accomplished — both individually and collectively — Huda Asker said it would not have been possible without the support of so many. 

In her salutatorian address, Asker recognized several teachers, her family, her mom and others for providing such a strong support system. 

Before stepping away from the microphone, though, Asker had her own advice to her fellow graduates. 

“I want to remind you that your journey is unique and to never compare it to someone else’s. As J. Cole says in his song, ‘Love Yourz,’ ‘There’s no such thing as a life that’s better than yours.’ Don’t compare yourself to the things that you see others achieving and remember to celebrate every single one of your accomplishments,” Asker said. “Embrace your journey fully with all of its ups and downs, because it’s what shapes us into who we are meant to be. Each one of us has our own path to walk, our own dreams to chase and our own obstacles to overcome.” 

Also on-hand to help with the celebration was Newton College and Career Academy (NCCA) CEO and principal, Chad Walker. He specifically recognized the students graduating who were a part of NCCA and the STEM Institute. 

Buff certified that each candidate met the requirements for diploma. Dr. Duke Bradley III, superintendent of Newton County Schools, followed behind with the release of the diplomas — it was his first ever time doing so as superintendent. 

After all names were called and the graduates walked across the stage, Amrin Dixon led the turning of the tassels. Post-ceremony fireworks and light show were the catalysts for the celebration to begin. 

The celebration marked the beginning of the graduates’ chapters as Newton High alumni that previous student speakers spoke about.

However, Newton High’s class executive president Montrell Fish offered the following words to motivate his fellow graduates for life after high school.

“So, class of 2024, I encourage you all to make mistakes, change your majors a couple of times — that’s OK — and fall,” Fish said. “But I also encourage you to never stay down. Gather yourself and get right back up and stand tall and be proud, because, long after those trials and errors, come great success.”