Sunday was a distinctive milestone for the Class of 2010 and Piedmont Academy. The school held its 40th graduation ceremony with Headmaster Dr. Michael Rossi, the school’s Board of Trustees, the school’s faculty, junior class ushers and senior class mascots leading the processional to “Largo” by Handel and “Pomp and Circumstance” by Elgar — 26 graduates followed.
Newton County graduates included honor graduates Christina Lynne Clark, daughter of Bob and Lisa Clark of Covington, Robyn Courtney Estes, daughter of John and Carolyn Estes of Covington, Rachel Elizabeth Marks, daughter of Wayne and Angie Marks of Covington, Austin Coy Nash Mitcham, son of Keith and Sandi Mitcham of Oxford, and Matthew Cole Wilson, son of Glenn and Kathy Wilson of Covington. Other Newton County graduates were Lucius William Harvey, son of Phil and Melissa Harvey of Mansfield, and Andrew Jay Marks, son of Kevin and Cathy Marks of Mansfield.
Delighted parents, relatives and friends were greeted by the invocation given by the class chaplain, Randi Small. Salutatorian, Carter Greeson, thanked all the guests attending and reflected on the many experiences that have shaped their lives and brought them to this momentous occasion. In conclusion, he thanked each graduate for their strength in friendship that binds each one together. He quoted William Lyon Phelps, “A well-ordered life is like climbing a tower, the view half way up is better than the view from the base and it steadily becomes finer as the horizon expands.”
Soloist Smith and guitarist Deleza began their musical selection, “I’m Not Gonna’ Cry” with music and lyrics by Corey Smith. This was followed by Valedictorian Trevor Wilson giving his address. He began by quoting Robert Louis Stevenson, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” Wilson shared the fact that graduates should rejoice in the realization of the knowledge and experiences they have gained to help them succeed and prosper as they carry on their lives. He noted the graduates can move forward as they prepare to begin the rest of their lives and rest securely in the knowledge that Piedmont Academy has truly developed their minds, bodies and spirits.
As part of the school’s 40th anniversary, former valedictorians and salutatorians were invited to this year’s ceremony and these members were recognized.
The “Golden Cougar Award” was presented to Harvey. This honor is given to a boy and girl graduate that exhibits qualities characterized by enthusiasm and love for their school based on spirit, dedication, devotion and loyalty.
Dr. Rossi explained to the audience the significance of the graduates stoles and cords. Gold stoles represented membership in Beta Club and/or National Honor Society with patches representing their respective membership. Gold tassels designated the graduates would receive the honors college prep diploma. These individuals took the most challenging academic load by taking 75 percent of their classes in honors, dual enrollment with Georgia Military College and advanced placement courses. Beta graduates are HOPE eligible. National Honor Society graduates, who are invited to join the society based on merit, must have a 90 cumulative average in their core classes and also demonstrate outstanding leadership, character and service. Special Distinction graduates wore a white cord to represent their cumulative average of 95 or above in their core area of high school classes.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. John Brown, and Headmaster Dr. Michael Rossi presented all 26 graduates with their diplomas in accordance of the requirements of the State of Georgia and the by-laws of Piedmont Academy.
Matt Wilson recognized the parents of the Class of 2010 by having them stand. He thanked the parents for the sacrifices of time and money so they could have the best possible opportunity for an education as well as their future. Class secretary Clark presented to the audience a visual presentation of the graduates. The video reflected the lives they had led up until graduation.