Stanly Early College graduates 39

Published 4:50 pm Monday, May 27, 2024

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At Thursday’s commencement exercises at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center for the Stanly Early College High School, 39 graduates received their diplomas in front of friends and family.

The West Stanly High School JROTC presented the colors, then Grace Yang led those in attendance with the Pledge of Allegiance. Callie Burris then gave the invocation.

Callie Ball shared memories of her four years at the Early College, noting graduates started their freshman years with remote learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ball noted class sizes were smaller and had nine people at most, adding at one point students were reading lines for plays half in person and half on Google Meet.

Students started taking college classes in their sophomore years at the Early College and were full-time college students by their senior years. Some seniors, as Ball noted, “overloaded our course load trying to gain as many credits as possible before transferring to another institution or college.”

Others seniors worked in the trades programs, Ball added, in welding, nursing and cosmetology.

Emma O’Neill and Lani Pope both delivered distinguished graduate addresses.

“The road ahead may be filled with challenges and uncertainty,” O’Neill said. “However, it is in these moments of uncertainty that our true character is revealed.”

O’Neill ended her remarks referencing a line from the “Hunger Games” book and movie franchise, saying, “Thank you, and may the job offers be ever in your favor.”

Pope talked about how a small stone thrown down a ravine into a pond can cause “ripples that extend far beyond what meets the eye.”

She talked about simple actions creating “shockwaves of positivity” in life, adding, “each of us has the ability to be a catalyst for change.”

Pope also noted how people are interconnected, citing examples from her time at the Early College.

Kevin Adams, the former principal of the Early College who is now the principal in his hometown at Wadesboro Elementary, gave the commencement address.

Adams noted Early College students take on a challenge many adults did not do, which is “earning college credit while you’re still not old enough to drive.”

He credited students for their efforts, noting faculty and staff “put faith in you to go to places and do the right thing, be in the web center when we told you to be there without necessarily the watchful eye of the principal on you.”

Adams thanked SCS Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis for efforts to keep children in school “despite all those federal and state mandates, and two weeks of quarantine…I want to thank you all for how hard you worked to maintain face-to-face learning.”

The former Early College principal also thanked parents for encouraging students to attend the school, adding, “this program not only requires the dedication of your student, but your support as well.”

Adams gave six keys to success for graduates, including: faith, family and friends, facing enormous challenges by asking how are you going to do this, don’t take offense and don’t be offensive, give thanks and be grateful, and love never fails.

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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