A group of students at Harlem High School casually played cards Friday morning on a table in the commons area while waiting for their chance to leave school for summer break.
"I've finished my exams and I don't really have anything else to do," said David Nacci, a 15-year-old freshman waiting for a parent to pick him up early.
Students in Columbia and Richmond counties completed the 2004-05 school year Friday.
Harlem student Jamael Worrell had more devious intentions for his last day of school.
"We're having a water balloon fight after school," said Jamael, a 16-year-old junior. "Anyone who crosses my path is going to get it."
Other students weren't as happy as Jamael about beginning their summer break.
Abby Garrett, 11, spent her last few minutes at Lewiston Elementary School crying with the friends she's matriculated with for years and now has to leave behind.
Abby will be heading to Columbia Middle School next year with Rachel Peloquin, 11, while their friends Alishia Lyons, 12, Taylor Haywood, 11, and Dylan Brown, 11, will begin Greenbrier Middle School in August.
"We've been friends since the first grade," Rachel said of her friend Taylor. "Now we have to split up."
The group shared one last hug in front of the school before Rachel ran to her bus to save the back seat for the last ride home from Lewiston.
"I feel like crying," Dylan said. "Everybody is crying."
Even some teachers shared Dylan's sentiment.
"There's been a lot of tears," Columbia Middle School teacher Lyn Jones commented about saying goodbye to pupils she's taught for three years.
"After one year you get attached," Ms. Jones said. "For the ones I've taught for three years, it's gut-wrenching."
One of Ms. Jones' pupils, 14-year-old Corey Mobley, gave her a hug after she imparted a few words of encouragement to the rising freshman at Evans High School.
Corey said because he is ready for high school, he's not nervous. And because he is excited about summer, leaving middle school wasn't too bad.
"I'm just ready to get to my vacation," he said.
Reach Donnie Fetter or Valerie Rowell at 868-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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