North Augusta High School’s class of 2019 gathered in their caps and gowns Thursday evening to receive the hundreds of awards and scholarships they’ve earned.

The senior class has racked up more than $10 million worth of scholarships, and over 50 categories of awards and scholarship money were given out from a variety of groups, such as civic organizations and foundations.

“Tonight, as we honor our students’ accomplishments, we must remember with full faith and heavy hearts that our students are going to do great things in different places,” said Chloe Caudill, senior class president.

“Whether it be in California or a neighboring town, they will succeed,” she said.

Carson Allen, headed to Clemson University, was named as the valedictorian; and Anna E. Mercer, headed to University of Georgia, is salutatorian.

“I’m very proud of it, but it’s all due to God blessing me throughout high school,” Mercer said of the accolade.

She said she’s excited to go to the University of Georgia and become part of the Bulldog nation, but will miss her family and her dog.

“But God has blessed me so much throughout high school, so I’m excited to serve him in college,” she said.

Mercer said highlights from high school include being a varsity cheerleader and cheering on the Jackets during Friday night football games and basketball games, plus being a member of the varsity tennis team.

Senior Abby Thornton is staying in South Carolina for college, but is headed to the Upstate to study elementary education at Anderson University.

She said she was “dead-set on going to Clemson, but her guidance counselor, Mrs. Winchester, suggested Anderson University; and after she toured the school, Thornton decided to go.

Highlights from her senior year include being able to go to school with her brother, who was a senior her freshman year, and being a part of this year’s Christmas video.

At the end of the ceremony, Principal John Murphy gave a few closing remarks to the seniors, reminding them to strive to be someone’s inspiration.

“We need to realize that one day, someone’s life may have changed in a positive way because of something we said or did,” he said.

“It is what you do with your life that counts. The administration, faculty and staff at North Augusta High School salute you on your achievements; and we believe that you all have the capability to make your lives count.”

Lindsey Hodges is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. Follow her on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges.