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With name like TNT Academy, graduation bound to be explosive. Ceremony falls apart.

It's hard to believe how awry this private Stone Mountain school's graduation went Friday.

First, school founder Nancy Gordeuk neglected to bring out the valedictorian to speak during the program. Then, she reacted angrily when audience members would not heed her admonishment to sit back down and listen to his belated speech. Gordeuk was also enraged over one man's conduct, calling him a goober and a coward. To cap the event, she singled out black audience members for walking out amid the craziness.

T NT Academy describes itself as a "Non-Traditional Educational Center that serves middle and high school students engaged in independent study. "

A former public and private school teacher, Gordeuk says on her website, "I decided to form TNT Academy for those students that need a one on one or small group setting. It also meets the needs of those students that do not like to listen to lectures, but like some hands on labs and learning. TNT also meets the need of those students that do not like to start a class at 7:30 am. Older students can work and come to school or pursue other activities of team sports on traveling teams, etc. TNT captures the needs of public school students that are bored in a classroom and are starting to get into trouble."

I dread graduation ceremonies. Most speeches go on too long and there are too many of them. High school students usually report they had no idea what their graduation speaker said; they just wanted to get their diploma, pose for photos and go out to eat.

If TNT was going for a more memorable moment, they got it.

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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.