Graduations begin for largest GCPS class ever

SNELLVILLE -- Julie and Burke Allen couldn't be more proud of their daughter, Taylor.

As members of Brookwood High School's Class of 1986, they're happy to welcome a fellow alum to the family.

"It's hard to believe that 27 years ago my husband and I were tossing our BHS caps into the air, and now it's Taylor's turn," Julie said. On Wednesday night, Taylor will cross the stage with peers at Brookwood Community Stadium to receive her high school diploma.

The experience is one she'll share this week with more than 10,500 others in Gwinnett County Public Schools. It's the largest graduating class the district has ever had.

"We are very proud of this year's senior class and all that these students have accomplished during their academic careers," said Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. "On behalf of the board of education and our community, I congratulate them and wish them the best as they start a new chapter in their lives."

A senior report for the class of 2013 showed that 84 percent of the students graduating this year plan to continue their education by attending college or post-secondary schools. The vast majority of that group plans to stay in its home state, attending college in Georgia.

Gwinnett students saw more than $86.4 million in academic achievement scholarships. Additionally, students received $45.4 million in athletic scholarships and $5.2 million from military appointments.

The monetary awards do not include HOPE, QuestBridge Scholarship winners or Gates Millenium Scholars.

Brookwood High School will graduate the largest class this year with 810 students, followed by Mill Creek with 782 and Peachtree Ridge with 769.

Having opened four years ago, Archer High and Mountain View High both will graduate their first class of students who have spent their entire four-year high school career at the two schools.

The class of 2013 also includes 2,318 honor graduates who are graduating with a grade percent average of 90 or better.

For a complete list of graduation dates and times, click here.