Class dismissed

Another academic year came to an end for about 22,000 students Thursday, when Columbia County's public schools let out for the summer.

At Riverside Middle School, Garrett Dorsey, who is going to Greenbrier High School next year, stopped Principal Don Putnam in the hall and asked him to sign his yearbook.

"When I walk through those doors, I'll be a high-schooler. I'll be in ninth grade," Garrett said.

Mr. Putnam is completing his final year at Riverside as well. Next year, he will become principal of Stallings Island Middle School, which is opening on Blackstone Camp Road.

"It's just exciting to be able to put together a new school," Mr. Putnam said. "I will miss this place, but I've certainly got something very exciting coming up."

The Riverside lobby was full of bookshelves and furniture, which belonged to 33 of the 105 Riverside faculty members who also are going to Stallings Island next year.

Guidance counselor Allison Hixon is one of the Riverside staff members who intends to follow Mr. Putnam to the new school.

"Either way, having a smaller population is going to be wonderful," she said.

Rising ninth-graders Hayley Prescott, 14, and Caroline Clark, 13, will attend Lakeside High School next year, but they said they would miss their friends who are going to Greenbrier High.

Hayley said she was nervous about "just everything" next year. Caroline said she would miss the "middle-school atmosphere," but she was looking forward to having more freedom.

The first year at Cedar Ridge Elementary School ended with parties and celebrations.

"It was a great day," Principal Sarah Walls said. "It was a great ending."

Staff writer Valerie Rowell contributed to this story.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

LAST DAYS, GRADUATION DATES FOR AREA SCHOOL SYSTEMS

COLUMBIA COUNTY

Last day: May 22

GRADUATION: Saturday


RICHMOND COUNTY

Last day: Today

GRADUATION: Wednesday and Thursday


AIKEN COUNTY

Last day: June 5

GRADUATION: June 5-6


EDGEFIELD COUNTY

Last day: May 30

GRADUATION: May 30


LINCOLN COUNTY

Last day: Today

GRADUATION: Today


MCDUFFIE, JEFFERSON COUNTIES

Last day: Today

GRADUATION: Saturday