High school graduates get sendoff from Stanly Dreamers

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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Local high school graduates got a big sendoff recently when Stanly Dreamers hosted a graduation gala event at the Stanly County Family YMCA.

Stanly Dreamers is a local non-profit organization which, according to the group’s Facebook page, “is working to provide educational, cultural and mentor support. We also create opportunities to assist students with becoming well-rounded and productive young citizens (K-12), with hopes of them taking those developed skills and giving back to their community.”

Several grads received awards from Stanly Dreamers at the event for essays they submitted about graduation and the future.

A panel of four current college students — Sidney Smith (Stanly Community College), Jamond Pinkney (Austin College), Eniyah Wilhite (Winston-Salem State) and Douglas Smith (Pfeiffer University) — spoke to the high school graduates at the gala.

The students talked to graduates about the biggest challenges of being a freshman in college. Smith said staying on track was difficult, while Pinkney said grads should get a job so they will not be broke. Wilhite said it was challenging to find out what you can do, while Smith said procrastination was a challenge for him.

Panelists also talked about dealing with individual freedom, homesickness and other challenges of college life.

Dr. Saundra Snuggs gives the address while Jamond Pinkney and Eniyah Wilhite look on. (Photo by CHARLES CURCIO)

Dr. Chaundra Snuggs, an Albemarle High School graduate who teaches in career and technical education and business at AHS, delivered the keynote address.

Snuggs said “life is going to get real” and “those bills are going to come faithfully.” She added, “you will see being an adult is not all the glamour that it is made out to be.”

Snuggs said graduates “have the choice of if you want to be the influenced or the influencer. So make sure whatever energy you take on is positive and is worthwhile.”

She also suggested students be lifelong learners, adding, “while you’re watching your reels and looking up stories for pleasure, make sure you’re also using technology to your advantage to aid in your learning.”

After the address, students received awards for their essays, with Eli Toole taking first place and winning $100. Nyleiah White received $50 for second place and Abigail Wahl placed third and winning $25.

Graduates at the gala also received trunks filled with dorm room essentials.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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