The pioneer Stallions

Northwestern graduates file in at Winthrop Coliseum for Friday's graduation ceremony.
Northwestern graduates file in at Winthrop Coliseum for Friday's graduation ceremony.

The three-year seniors -- students who have been the top dogs at Rock Hill's South Pointe High School since it opened -- will graduate today.

The school opened in 2005 with only freshman and sophomores, and for the past three years, students in the 2008 graduating class have been the leaders.

"I feel that it's an honor because we started something different and we're doing something new," 18-year-old Laquashia Mobley said Friday. "We came through here and we did what we had to do and now we're gone. We had fun doing it and there will never be another first class like us."

Principal Al Leonard said he bonded with the senior class. He relied on them for suggestions about ways to make the school better and the transition there smoother.

Graduation, at 2 p.m. today at the Winthrop Coliseum, will be a special moment, he said.

"I really feel like I've grown up as a high school principal with them," Leonard said. "This was my first high school principalship. One of the things I'll always be appreciative of was that I had an open door policy with them and they took advantage of it."

Around York County, Fort Mill and Clover high schools also have graduations today. Rock Hill, Northwestern and York Comprehensive high school graduations were Friday.

In exchange for their leadership, South Pointe seniors got certain perks such as their own parking area, space in the cafeteria and the chance to leave classes a few minutes before underclassmen.

"Being a senior for three years and having the privileges for all three years was pretty cool," said 18-year-old Meredith Dotson, who will be off to the University of South Carolina in the fall.

Today marks the first time Rock Hill has graduated students from a new school since Northwestern in 1973.

South Pointe's last "first step" will be next year, when the 2009 graduates will become the first to have attended the school for all four years.

Still, this year's seniors say they have left their mark.

"I guess we're making history," said 18-year-old Andrew Robinson. "We're creating a legacy, so that's cool. We set a standard for everybody else to follow or abide by."