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Stanly Academy celebrates grads

By Marina Shankle
for the SNAP
Stanly Academy Learning Center seniors turned their tassels in a graduation ceremony Thursday in the school gymnasium.
Principal Shannon Batchelor began the ceremony by welcoming friends, family and other guests. She also addressed the graduates.
“Tonight, we come together to honor you for your success. We are very proud of you,” Batchelor said.
Graduating senior Tyrique Hammond led the students and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, and graduating senior Claudine Whitley presented senior remarks.
“To my fellow seniors, though we come from different parts of the county, I couldn’t imagine graduating with anyone else,” Whitley said. “My wish for all of us is that we stay on the right track.”
Graduate Shawn Long introduced the ceremony’s guest speaker, Stanly County Schools Superintendent Jeff James.
James opened his remarks by advising the graduates to be ready to adapt in a changing world.
“Learn to grasp and accept change as you live your life, and you will do well,” James said.
He encouraged students to be innovative and to look at the big picture in the situations they will face.
“It is the spirit of creativity that has set your generation apart,” he said. “I simply ask that you imagine a better world for all humanity and do your best to make it happen.”
After James’ address, Batchelor presented several graduates with awards.
Graduate Emily Allen received the Principal’s Award for a positive attitude and the ability to focus on schoolwork.
Graduates Katina Gainey, Jerry Hunter and Jacob Rose received Eagle Awards for overcoming obstacles and never giving up.
Graduate Michael Pennington received the Superintendent’s Student of the Year Award, which is awarded annually to the student who meets several criteria, including attendance, grades and attitude.
Batchelor recognized the following students for bronze-level scores on their Workkeys test: Claudine Whitley, Tierra Williams, Tyrique Hammond and Jerry Hunter. Graduate Jonathan Broom was recognized for earning a silver-level score.
Following the presentation of awards, graduates were presented with their diplomas and turned their tassels.
In her closing remarks, Batchelor reminded students that being a part of Stanly Academy is being a part of a caring family.
“As this chapter closes and the new one opens, always remember that you have people who care about you,” Batchelor said.

Photo by MARINA SHANKLE
The 2018 graduating class of Stanly Academy enjoys applause from friends and family.

Marina Shankle is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.