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Ready to walk: Seniors relish event with rehearsals, ceremonies
Flowery Branch High’s Elizabeth Martin, right, and Halie Butterworth, center, pose for classmate Kait Erhard, left, at Free Chapel Worship Center on Thursday afternoon as the school rehearses for graduation on Saturday evening. Students brought their caps and gowns to rehearsal for a class group photo.


Listen to graduates Jennifer Fuller and Justin Fordham of Gainesville High School talk about their emotions around leaving high school.

They’ve imagined it. They’ve dreamt about it. Now, it’s time to don the cap and gown and take that big walk across the stage.

More than a thousand area high school seniors are set to graduate this weekend, with Gainesville High, Johnson High and North Hall High students grabbing their diplomas tonight.

While the Gainesville and Hall County school systems wrap up the 2007-08 school year today, most area seniors finished up their academic work a week earlier and have spent this week getting ready for the big day.

Some students are participating in baccalaureate services, a religious ceremony preceding graduation. Nearly all are taking part in commencement

To get a diploma, students must pass all their Georgia High School Graduation Tests and fulfill the required number of credit hours.

Many students said that while they are excited about turning the tassel, they also are dealing with a case of nerves.

"I’m not really certain what the future holds, but I’m still excited to get out there and start anew," said Joshua Gober, who, along with his twin brother, Isaiah Gober, are top students at Flowery Branch High School.

"It’s a mix of emotions," Isaiah Gober said. "Of course, you’re going to be sad and a little nervous about leaving friends and family and stuff.

"You’re also excited because you have new freedom and you’re going off to college and discovering the world and making new friends."

The 18-year-old brothers plan to attend Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, with Joshua Gober majoring in either chemistry or chemical engineering and Isaiah Gober majoring in chemistry.

After baccalaureate rehearsal Thursday morning at First Baptist Church on Green Street in Gainesville, Jennifer Fuller, Scott LeFevre and Justin Fordham of Gainesville High School talked about their emotions around leaving high school and their plans afterward. "It’s kind of overwhelming," Fuller said of tonight’s big event. "I can’t believe it’s finally happening ... and I’m really proud to be here."

LeFevre, the senior class president, also expressed feelings of excitement and anxiety. "I’ve been looking forward to this for the past four years," he said.

Fordham agreed with his friends, adding, "The sad part about it is this is probably the last time you’ll ever be with all these people at once in your life.

"... It’s all over, but there’s a whole new beginning out there for us."