Stanly Early College graduates 41 at Monday’s commencement event

Published 11:44 am Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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The Stanly Early College High School seniors had accomplished a lot, as they sat on the stage at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center Monday night moments away from graduation.

They had overcome the many hardships associated with the once-in-a-generation Covid-19 pandemic, including being isolated from their classmates and teachers; they took all sorts of challenging honors and college classes, while still maintaining high grade point averages; they accumulated more than $3 million in scholarships and will attend colleges such as UNC Chapel Hill, N.C. State and UNC Charlotte.

All 41 seniors earned their associate’s degree or certification from Stanly Community College.

“I am enormously proud of every single one of you,” said principal Kevin Adams.

Reflecting on her time at SEC, Hillary Adams, who talked about the struggles of adapting to a new school with her father as principal, said that despite the many challenges and hurdles she and her classmates have overcome, her four years at the school had been memorable.

“The school turned a place I dreaded into a place I loved, full of my closest friends and my favorite teachers,” Adams said.

Offering advice to the next generation of SEC students, Adams stressed that everything is not always as black and white as it can seem.

“You will learn that disappointment is not death and achievement is not always the answer to your problems,” she said, before ending her speech noting that SEC has been “everything to me and more.”

Makayla Eudy was a guest speaker at the Stanly Early College graduation.

In talking about the many opportunities that await the class, Makayla Eudy, who gave the distinguished graduate address, made a reference to a notable character in the “Lord of the Ring” novels.

“As a wise man named Gandalf once said: All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us,” Eudy said.

Former English teacher Janet Ross, making several references to William Shakespeare, talked about the importance of students believing in themselves and being open to new possibilities.

“You need to figure out who you are, so you can be genuine and sincere,” Ross said, referencing one of Shakespeare’s famous quotes: “To thine own self be true.”

Ross encouraged the students to live a principled life of always striving to do what is right while treating people with respect and dignity. “No legacy is so rich as honesty,” she said, quoting Shakespeare.

Noting that everyone has the potential for greatness, Ross challenged them to have the confidence to achieve their dreams.

“To be or not to be successful…that is your question,” she told the students.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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