By Jessica Carelock
Friday, May 24, 2013 —
Thirty-four Stanly Early College students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas May 14.
The ceremony began with students James Carelock and David Smith playing a guitar duet, “Jerusalem’s Ridge.” Instructor Laura Almond followed, playing the processional for the entrance of the students. Once all the students were seated, Carelock gave the invocation.
After interim principal Bud Smith spoke a few words of introduction, senior class president Cayla Dameron spoke about the journey the students have taken and wished her fellow graduates the best. She then introduced Stanly County Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Griffin.
Griffin shared the poem “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. She emphasized the importance of balance in life and expressed her pride in the hard work of each graduate.
Salutatorian Rachel Slack followed Dr. Griffin and spoke on overcoming obstacles and working through the hard times.
“A certain darkness is needed to see the stars,” Slack said.
Slack graduated early, with an associate in arts and an associate in science.
Melonie Strother then shared an original poem called “Our Time” that she wrote specifically for the graduation. The poem was a memoir about the time the graduates spent at the Early College and in it Strother said, “And now, after these four or five years, it is our time.”
Valedictorian Aryn Floyd gave her speech after Strother and focused on taking every opportunity that is given. She quoted Thomas Edison, saying: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Floyd congratulated each of her fellow graduates, but cautioned them to not take things easy now.
“Stick your foot in every door,” she said.
Floyd received her associate in science.
Former principal Dr. Amy Blake-Lewis followed Floyd with the assistance of Curtis Parker and shared a collection of words of wisdom. Blake-Lewis gathered a collection of 10 quotations from people such as Mark Twain, George Washington Carver and Robert Frost. She shared the quotes and explained her view on each of them. Blake-Lewis expressed her pride in all of the graduates and wished them the best in their future endeavors.
Following Blake-Lewis, all of the teachers shared special memories they had with individual students. They talked about the changes they have witnessed in the students from freshman year up until the present. They wished them the best and encouraged them to continue to work for their dreams.
Dean of Student Services Curtis Parker presented awards. Awards included scholarships to Nick Davis and Sarah Mask for their work with blood drives, Student of the Year to James Carelock and awards for Salutatorian and Valedictorian to Rachel Slack and Aryn Floyd.
Senior class treasurer Tyler Foster then shared the graduation video. The video was a collection of photographs gathered from the beginning of freshman year all the way up to their last prom. The video brought laughter and a lot of memories for both the students and the teachers.
After the video, Griffin, Smith and Parker presented the diplomas to the graduates. Former counselor Joyce Hansen followed with some closing remarks.
Jessica Carelock is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.