Jun. 11—Three Aiken County Public Schools held graduation ceremonies Thursday evening.
South Aiken, Silver Bluff and Wagener-Salley high schools each celebrated the achievements of the class of 2021.
South Aiken High School Valedictorian Kathleen Coleman and Salutatorian Haley Huynh gave speeches to their class.
In this past year Huynh has been president of the Beta club, co-president of her senior class and created a tutoring service called Project Tuteen; she's also been tap dancing for the past 10 years, and practicing archery for the last five years.
"It's definitely a monumental moment and I'm very proud of myself for all of the hard work I've put in, but it's definitely not over," Huynh said. "I'm starting to realize it now because I'm planning to go to Clemson and then graduate school after so this is kind of just another step, but it definitely is a huge moment."
Huynh wants to be remembered as "out of the box," after growing up as a shy person she was more involved in high school. She will be majoring in biological science and minoring in Spanish.
Coleman reflected on her time attending high school in the middle of a pandemic. She said she will miss the teachers like Mr. Ungureanu and Ms. Mason who made the high school experience really special.
"I'm relieved, its bittersweet but I'm excited to be done, I'm excited to move forward and I will always remember this chapter in my life, but I think that the pandemic and the tribulations of the circumstances makes it all the more rewarding to graduate," Coleman said.
Coleman plans to go to Georgia Tech and major in mechanical engineering.
Silver Bluff held its graduation Thursday evening, as well, with Valedictorian Erica Childers and Salutatorian Ella Mack giving speeches at their ceremony.
"I've been expecting it (valedictorian) for a while," Childers said. "I worked really hard throughout middle school like starting high school classes, I've pushed a long time. I've been expecting it but it's still an honor."
Childers said she's been waiting for the day for so long and was so glad and ready for the next phase of her life.
Mack talked about resilience through the pandemic and how the class of 2021 has been through a lot and overcame it.
"It means a lot. I've worked very hard over the past few years and honestly valedictorian and salutatorian were never on my mind," Mack said. "I wasn't really working for a rank I was working for myself."
Wagener-Salley High School graduation was also at 8 p.m. Thursday. The commencement began with Victoria Ann Frances Alger and ended with Shikiya Alexis Wise.
The valedictorian was Brenna Nunn, who is aiming to study electrical engineering. The salutatorian was Raney Burnett, who is looking to study business and marketing. Both graduates are planning to attend Clemson.
All graduations were as planned in the football field.
The next graduations, planned for Friday at 8 p.m, are Aiken, Midland Valley, North Augusta and Ridge Spring-Monetta.