Richmond County high school students said goodbye to teachers, homework assignments and early mornings on their last day of classes Thursday.
Most were wrapping up exams on their final day before summer.
Though high school is completed for the year, elementary and middle schools will have their last student days today.
High school ended a day early this year because of the early graduation dates. The Richmond County School System will hold graduations Sunday and Monday at James Brown Arena, a first-time change from the traditional Monday, Tuesday schedule.
School officials had to switch the days because of a scheduling conflict with the arena. The arena booked a Lady Antebellum concert for Tuesday, even though Lynn Warr, the executive director for high schools, said her office reserved the date last year but didn’t sign a contract with the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, which runs the arena.
Carol Rountree, the director of student services, said high school students were released a day early to give teachers time to grade and process final exams before the first graduations Sunday.
“They needed additional time, and it does make a difference,” she said.
T.W. Josey High School Principal Ronald Wiggins said the last day of high school is a relief for students but also a time for adjustment.
The routine of the school day often gives structure to young people who don’t have it at home and they can sometimes lose that in summer.
“During the school year, you know tomorrow morning you’re going to wake up, brush your teeth and go to school,” Wiggins said. “When you don’t have a job or a place to go every day, that can be a scary time for kids.”
Wiggins said he is sending fliers home with report cards next week to make sure parents encourage their kids to find a job or go to a community center for activities.
“We want the kids to be kids, and we definitely want them to have down time in the summer,” he said, “but here’s my buzzword: They need structured downtime.”