Check out this special online magazine celebrating our graduating seniors in the last week of their high school careers!
Oh, the places they’ll go! For the 13 years of their K–12 academic careers, our graduating seniors have been working toward the moment when they would cross the stage, receive a diploma, and turn their tassel. And that day’s finally here for our largest-ever class of nearly 13,000 on-track graduates! Graduation ceremonies for the district’s 22 diploma-granting high schools started with Phoenix HS on May 20 and wrap up on May 27 with Discovery HS. (Our 23rd high school, Paul Duke STEM HS, opened in 2018–19, but without a senior class. The Class of 2020 will be the first graduates for the new theme school.)
College, careers, military service, and travel are among the next stops for our 2019 graduates. In the fall, most seniors— 82%— are headed to universities, colleges, and postsecondary schools in Georgia and around the country. Most students (85%) will attend school in Georgia, with 85% enrolling in a four-year college or university and the balance attending a two-year college or technical college. Among the students heading out of state, 43 will matriculate at one of the eight prestigious Ivy League schools. We have more than 1,300 students attending one of the top 50 schools in the country or one of the top 25 public colleges or universities in the U.S. (based on U.S. News & World Report ranking).
And our seniors will have financial help to complete their education. As of April 2019, our graduates have been offered close to $203.7 million in academic, athletic, and military scholarships, with 18% of college-bound graduates offered at least one scholarship. Academic achievement earned offers of nearly $104.3 million, including large, multi-year scholarships such 9 Posse Scholars, 2 Horatio Alger Scholars, and 1 KPMG Future Leader. What’s significant is the number and amount of scholarships that were not yet announced when senior information was compiled in April, including HOPE awards (typically, about a third of graduates), National Merit Scholars and the full-ride scholarships awarded to GCPS’ 17 QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship recipients and 4 Gates Scholars. Student athletes earned more than $91 million in athletic scholarships.
Service to country continues to be a call answered by Gwinnett graduates. The nation’s five military service academies— Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine— offered appointments to 21 young leaders, representing more than $8.3 million in scholarships. A total of 11 high schools had 1 or more appointments, with 3 appointments at Grayson and Mountain View and 4 at Peachtree Ridge. A total of 471 seniors will serve their country through military service after graduation, including cadets who honed their leadership skills in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) units available at 14 GCPS high schools.
About 1,200 students will enter the workforce after high school, many armed with credentials and certificates earned through our career and technical education programs and sought after by local employers. Students graduating from the district’s Academy high schools— Berkmar, Central Gwinnett, Discovery, Lanier, Meadowcreek, Shiloh, and South Gwinnett— complete high school with valuable exposure to college majors of interest and experience in potential careers. Another 500+ seniors have other post-graduation plans— from “gap year” travel to mission work.
And records are made to be broken. A record number of seniors are graduating with a grade percent average of 90 or better. Among our 3,592 Honor Graduates are each school’s highest ranking students— the valedictorian (1st in class) and the salutatorian (2nd in class). Well over half of Gwinnett seniors— 7,036— took on the challenge and rigor of college-level Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses during high school. And another record falls in 2019 as 1,619 seniors— an increase of nearly 400 students— got a head start on college through the state’s dual-enrollment program, earning both high school and college credit.
Congratulations to our graduates and their families!
Your journey is just beginning and we can’t wait to see the places you’ll go! As Dr. Suess would say…
“You’re off the Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way!”