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SAVANNAH, Ga. - GeorgiaChron -- (SAVANNAH, Ga.) Bethesda Academy, a private day school for boys, held two signature events in celebration of the Class of 2023's graduation: the ninth annual Scholarship Gala and the outdoor commencement ceremony.

The Scholarship Gala took place at The Palmetto Club, One Cottonwood Dr., in The Landings. Savannah State University President Kimberly Ballard-Washington, who also serves on the Bethesda Academy Board of Governors, delivered the keynote speech. Ballard-Washington was appointed president by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on May 13, 2021, after having served on an interim basis for almost two years. Ballard-Washington has practiced law in the state of Georgia for 20 years and most recently served the University System of Georgia as associate vice chancellor for legal affairs and as the assistant secretary to the Board of Regents.

The black-tie optional event supports the school's Gateway Scholarship Program, and fundraising efforts allow nearly 90% of students to receive financial aid.

The festivities continued with the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2023 taking place on the historic campus of Bethesda Academy.The eight students of the Class of 2023 maintained a storied tradition at Bethesda Academy by taking the Reflection Walk with the faculty and staff. The ceremonial stroll across the campus stops at various buildings and outdoor gathering spaces so participants can contemplate meaningful moments and personal growth at Bethesda Academy. The students shared stories of lessons learned, friends they met, and memories of their experiences at the school. At the conclusion of the Reflection Walk, the graduation ceremony began.

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Bethesda Academy President Dr. Michael Hughes said, "On the occasion of this much-anticipated graduation for the Bethesda Academy Class of 2023, I know I speak for all of our faculty and staff when I congratulate them and honor their commitment and hard work."

The Class of 2023 Valedictorian is Sam Weatherly, who will be attending Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Ga. The Salutatorian is Jalil Calhoun, a senior tight end of the Bethesda Blazers football team who signed a National Letter of Intent to attend and play for Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga.

For more information, visit https://bethesdaacademy.org (http://www.bethesdaacademy.org/) or call 912.644.4376.

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