North Stanly graduates 133 for Class of 2024

Students receiving diplomas at North Stanly High School on May 24 were encouraged by commencement speaker Kristie McCowan to follow the example of the mathematician Pythagoras and review the good, the bad and the omitted elements at the close of each day.

“Yes, you heard me correctly, an English teacher quoting a mathematician,” McCowan said, before delivering advice stated by the ancient Greek polymath: “Do not go to bed until you have gone over the day three times in your mind,” she quoted. “Ask yourself, ‘What wrong did I do?’, ‘What good did I accomplish?’ and ‘What did I forget to do?’ ”

McCowan stressed the importance of determining one’s missteps, recognizing true successes and identifying areas for improvement would be instrumental in the lives of the graduates going forward.

“In the words of Pythagoras, the unexamined life is not worth living.” she said. “By embracing the practice of self-reflection, we embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and continuous improvement.”

SCS Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis opened the commencement with a message of congratulations to the graduates.

“You have the power to make a difference in this world,” Dennis said, and encouraged the seniors to “remember the teachers, coaches, parents and others who have supported you along your journey.”

Graduating senior Kloe Hudson presided over the “Laying of the Flowers,” at which honorary diplomas were presented to the families of two classmates, Nevaeh Eliza Eudy and William Tyler McDaniel, both of whom passed in 2020.

“The blue flowers represent your family here at North Stanly, the white flowers represent hope for the future and the red ones represent the memories of your time with us,” Hudson said.

Jayna Thompson delivered the graduate address, recounting “excitement about high school as freshmen before having that year cut short,” before finally experiencing “a full school year as sophomores.”

“As juniors we began to venture into interests and courses of interest before walking into the future as seniors,” she continued.

Thompson encouraged her classmates, reminding them, “You never fail just because you’re told ‘no’ … you only fail when you give up,” and appealed for the classmates to stay in touch, observing that graduation “should not mean ‘goodbye,’ but should instead be, ‘see you later.’ ”

Graduating class members were recognized by Assistant Principal Dr. Frank Cagle and Dean of Students Jamey Evans. Stanly County School Board members Glenda Gibson and Carla Poplin also congratulated graduates.

NSHS Principal Dr. Andrea Russell closed the ceremony by first directing the class members to “turn around, find your families and express your gratitude to them for their support,” before delivering the official graduation proclamation.

The Class of 2024 marks the 61st graduating class from North Stanly High.

Toby Thorpe is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.