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GCPS students graduate from 21 different schools

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Phoenix High School graduate Jason Howard shows his excitement as he walks across the stage to accept his diploma on Monday evening at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Phoenix High School graduate Jason Howard shows his excitement as he walks across the stage to accept his diploma on Monday evening at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Class of 2013 is crossing the stage.

Monday night marked the Gwinnett County Public School district's first graduation ceremony of the year with 101 Phoenix High School students receiving diplomas. The commencements continue this week with seven more ceremonies scheduled for Wednesday, five on Thursday, four on Friday and four on Saturday.

Phoenix High School graduate Katie Hogewood, 17, reflected this week that, as a student, she "faced many challenges" along the way.

"I learned that I had to have determination and motivation...Remember, fellow students, that anything is possible. And the feeling of accomplishment is indescribable," said Hogeland, speaking to her classmates.

Many others graduating this week might find common ground in the girl's encouraging words. Among more than 10,500 students getting their diplomas this week are 2,318 honor graduates with a grade percent average of 90 or better.

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.

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