Grads show their colors

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Shedding their black and white uniforms, marks of the Richmond County alternative school, 14 seniors instead donned the vibrant caps and gowns of their respective schools.

R.J. Bigby, of Hephzibah High School, adjusts his tassel during the reception for Bungalow Road Alternative School graduates.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
R.J. Bigby, of Hephzibah High School, adjusts his tassel during the reception for Bungalow Road Alternative School graduates.

Bungalow Road Alternative School, with its reputation for housing students with discipline problems, displayed its academic achievements Wednesday during its honors night.

With the playing of Pomp and Circumstance, the 14 graduating seniors processed into the school's lunchroom that was filled with hundreds of people, including representatives of national, state and local government.

"I'm proud of myself," Patrick Brown, a 17-year-old Laney High School honor graduate, said. "I turned my life around. I'm able to graduate with my class."

Only months earlier, Patrick skipped school chronically, so much so that he was assigned to the alternative school to finish his last year of school.

But on Wednesday night, he was all smiles as he stood taking pictures with his teachers and others who had pushed him back in the right direction.

"They kept me strong to get through this," Patrick said.

He plans to attend Voorhees College, where he will study business administration on his way to starting his own fashion line.

"Here we try to teach them everyone who stumbles doesn't fall," said Principal Thomas Norris, whose pride for his students' accomplishments was clear on his face and through his fervor.

"It's not the money. It's not the titles. It's when kids like this get what they want to get," he said. "Sometimes it takes years, but ooh whee, talk about something sweet."

Among the students who spoke at honors night was John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School's Elizabeth Doss, who recalled her first day at the alternative school. Her teacher could tell she wanted to break into tears, but she stood proudly Wednesday as she delivered parting remarks to the Class of 2008, telling of her plans to major in theater at Augusta State University.

"Just because this is an alternative school doesn't mean that everything and everyone in it is bad," she said.

Wednesday night was also used to celebrate the achievements of the county's evening school, from which 32 students are graduating.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

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thrilled to hear
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thrilled to hear 05/22/08 - 07:12 am
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Way to Go Grads.

Way to Go Grads.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 05/22/08 - 08:04 am
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Congrats Grads...

Congrats Grads...

truth4u
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truth4u 05/22/08 - 08:38 am
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very touching story. keep it

very touching story. keep it up!!!!

sanders20
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sanders20 05/22/08 - 10:24 am
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well done...please help other

well done...please help other to do the same!!

Daughter of Jerusalem
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Daughter of Jerusalem 05/22/08 - 01:15 pm
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Hats off to Mr. Norris and

Hats off to Mr. Norris and Mrs. Bradley. Thanks Mrs. Bradly for bringing back honors' night to the alternative school.

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 05/22/08 - 11:42 pm
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If you look at the For The

If you look at the For The Record section in Richmond County Neighbors you will see an entry for 4 parolees. Parole is a form of 'Graduation,' so congratualtions to Michael Brandon Favreau, Donald Carain Peet, James Maurice Herrington, and Dennis Lee Youngblood. The State Penal System has a reputation for housing people with discipline problems and their return to the outside life is an honor they should be proud of. Hopefully, they have all turned their lives around and will work and study to be productive members of the community.

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