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Top of ECHS class ready to tackle college
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Honorarium John Ratchford, Georgia Scholar Patrick Todd, salutatorian Courtney Crosby and valedictorian Sriharshini Chitluri will lead the Effingham County High School class of 2015 at graduation Saturday night. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Graduation ceremonies

• Who: Effingham County High School
• When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
• Where: Rebel Field

The top graduates from the Effingham County High School class of 2015 can’t wait for college to start. In fact, at least has a head start.
Courtney Crosby, the salutatorian, has been dual enrolled at Georgia Southern University during her senior year at ECHS.

“I’ve been on the other side of high school,” she said. “I’ve seen what it’s like outside of high school, and it’s going to be great. I already love college and I’m looking forward to next year, getting in full-time and being involved on campus.”

Crosby, valedictorian Sriharshini Chitluri, honorarium John Ratchford and Patrick Todd, recognized as a Georgia Scholar, all acknowledged how much effort it took to get high marks — and keep them.

“I just worked hard generally,” said Chitluri, who will study neuroscience at Wesleyan. “I just do what I needed to do and get things done the best I can.”

Said Ratchford: “It was a lot of pressure, especially taking difficult classes to keep up the high GPA. It was some late nights and a lot of work, but it was worth it.”

Todd, who will study electrical engineering at Georgia Tech, said it was tough work to meet the Georgia Scholar requirements.

“It’s nice to know I’m one of 180 (in the state) to get the title,” he said.

Crosby will continue to matriculate at Georgia Southern, where she will study biology and pre-med.

“I’m my own worst critic,” she said, “so I was constantly hounding myself on getting stuff done and doing the very best I could.”

Crosby and Chitluri each cited a subject outside of their anticipated collegiate studies as their favorite during the ECHS careers.

“I took Spanish three years and I had a wonderful teacher,” Crosby said, referring to Rhonda Habersham. “I love that lady. I love science, but Spanish won out for me.”

For Chitluri, her favorite class was AP Literature, under the tutelage of Dr. Aimee Taylor.

“It was really a good experience,” she said. “It really helped me grow with my writing.”

Ratchford will go to the University of Georgia and he credited his advanced placement studies for getting him ready for the next step.

“My AP classes this year prepared me for college,” he said. “It was something I needed to do, or I would have been up the creek at Georgia.”

And the Rebels’ top grads are anxious for their college careers to commence.

“I’ll miss it some,” Ratchford said of ECHS, “and I’ll miss being home, but I’m ready to get out of the house and go do something else.”

Said Chitluri: “I’m ready to move on because it’s going to be a lot of school. I’m just ready to go to college.”

Todd is uprooting from bucolic Effingham County to the hustle and bustle of midtown Atlanta to go to school.

“It’s unreal,” he said of the end of high school, “because we’re never going to have to go to lunch or leave with the bell again and never have to show up at the same time of day and wait for 8:26. It’s going to be crazy living in Atlanta.”