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Congratulations Class of 2019

When Kyler Jones was in the fifth grade he had to have surgery, and two slots were open: one during the school day and the other two days before Christmas.

He chose two days before Christmas.

That decision allowed Jones to graduate Thursday from South Aiken High School with a record of perfect attendance starting in 4K when his family moved from Colorado to Aiken. For 14 years, that's 2,520 days without a single missed day through Chukker Creek Elementary, Kennedy Middle and South Aiken High.

“It wasn't a goal at first. Probably for the first four years, from my first grade to fourth grade, I just had never missed a day yet,” said Jones, adding that he got sick only on weekends or school breaks. “After that and I had gone through eighth grade with no missed days, I thought I might has well just keep going."

Jones was one of more than 600 Aiken County Public Schools' students from South Aiken High, Aiken High and Wagener-Salley High who received their diplomas Thursday during commencement exercises in the Convocation Center at USC Aiken.

With graduation behind him, Jones, a son of Lisa and Christopher Jones, is looking forward to taking it easy this summer before starting at Augusta University in the fall. He plans to study biology and anatomy with the goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

Jones volunteers at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, where his mom works in credentialing.

“I met all the doctors, and seeing what the did and learning about it just interested me,” said Jones, who will work at Doctors Hospital this summer.

Jones, a grandson of Terry and Jack McGrath of Aiken, is one of four Aiken County Public Schools' students in the class of 2019 who achieved perfect attendance. The others are Thomas O'Banion, Jones' classmate at South Aiken High School; Aiyana Holland, Aiken High School; and Antonio Hill, Silver Bluff High School.

Aiken High's, Wagener-Salley High's and South Aiken High's graduating classes by the numbers are as follows:

Aiken High School

• Valedictorian: Charlton Palmer Hill

• Salutatorian: Brian Christopher Marra

• Number of graduates: 285 students

• Number of graduates going to two-year colleges: 94 students

• Number of graduates going to four-year colleges: 131 students

• Graduates going into the military: Nine students

• Graduates going into workforce training: 51 students

• Total amount of scholarships offered to the Aiken High class of 2019: $15,213,174

Wagener-Salley High School

• Valedictorian: Bryson Alexander Shealey

• Salutatorian: Destiny Jordan Johnson

• Number of graduates: 65 students

• Number of graduates who will attend a two- or four-year college: 62 students

• Number of graduates who will enlist in the military: One student

• Total amount of scholarships offered to the Wagener-Salley High class of 2019: $1,944,550

South Aiken High School

• Valedictorian: Matthew Franklin Reid

• Salutatorian: Ryan Martin Conner

• Number of graduates: 309 students

• Number of graduates going to two-year colleges: 78 students

• Number of graduates going to four-year colleges: 183 students

• Graduates going into the military: 10 students

• Total amount of scholarships offered to the South Aiken High class of 2019: $14,997,245.

Graduations will continue today in the Convocation Center at USCA as follows:

• North Augusta High School, 9 a.m.

• Ridge Spring-Monetta High School, noon

• Midland Valley High School, 3 p.m.

• Silver Bluff High School, 6 p.m.

Graduations will be streamed live on the Aiken County Public School District's YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/channel/UCwcw4ULx31hQSLxIehugs_g/videos?disable_polymer=1.

Larry Wood/Aiken Standard
Photo Credit: Cindy Kubovic