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ECHS, SEHS seniors offer parting advice
SEHS top 2
South Effingham’s Jeffery Hancock and Erica Bolton will lead the way for this weekend’s commencements. - photo by Photo by Sandi Van Orden
Graduation 2009
• South Effingham’s senior class will have commencement exercises Friday at 7:30 p.m. at The Corral.

• Effingham County’s senior class will have its commencement exercises at Rebel Field on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

The top students in the graduating class of 2009 share their experience and advice.

Effingham County High School’s top students are valedictorian Lauren Spradley, salutatorian Elisabeth Shabi and honorarian Ashlie Rubrecht.

South Effingham High School’s top students are valedictorian Jeffery Hancock and salutatorian Erica Bolton.

What the students will remember most are friends.

“We’ll definitely remember all of our friends that we’ve made, and the opportunities to meet new people and new relationships with people,” Spradley said.

Shabi said she will remember the beginning of the year.

“One of the biggest things for me was when senior year started, (you) had that feeling of not that you didn’t care anymore, but you kind of found yourself,” she said. “I finally said I don’t care what other people think about me and be myself and totally comfortable with myself and my surroundings, and I can just relax.”

Rubrecht said it would not be class, but the time outside of school that she remembers.

Shabi and Rubrecht also said they will remember Ms. (Maureen) O’Bryan.

“Ms. O’Bryan is by far the most talented teacher this school has,” Shabi said of the advanced placement literature teacher. “She is brilliant. She puts her life into teaching, and if you respect her she will respect you and she will give you everything she has. Out of every class I’ve had in high school, and these two would probably say the same, that is the most enriching class I’ve ever experienced. She gives her all.”  

Hancock also said friends were important.

“Friends are what made this bearable,” he said.

Bolton said she and Hancock were both in band, will remember a lot of time spent there.

Each gave advice to the seniors of 2010. Spradley said to enjoy the year and to work hard.

“Don’t take any days for granted — senior year will fly by,” she said.

Shabi said for students to be themselves.

“Don’t let anyone influence you and make the right decisions for yourself, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks is right for you,” she said. “You’ll know what’s right for you.”

Said Rubrecht: “Have fun; you’re only a senior once.”

Hancock said not to rush through the year.

“It goes by way too quick,” he said.

Bolton said to “enjoy it while you can.”

For the students who will be entering the high schools next year, Spradley advises students to be careful who their friends are.

“Make sure you have a solid group of friends,” she said.

Rubrecht advises students to be involved. Hancock said high school is not as scary as students think.

“You’ll get used to it pretty quick — it’s not that big of a change,” he said.

Bolton said high school is better than middle school.

Spradley and Rubrecht will attend Mercer. Spradley plans to major in biology on a pre-med track and Rubrecht plans to student biology/chemistry.

Shabi will attend Reinhardt College as an undeclared student, but she plans to study art and is considering graphic art/commercial design.

Hancock will attend Georgia Tech and plans to major in aerospace engineering.

Bolton will attend Georgia Southern University and has not yet declared a major.