It is said that as we age, our life moves through stages.
Such was the case for 399 graduates in Edgecombe County Monday and Tuesday as they received their high school diplomas in three commencement ceremonies.
Rain and the threat of severe weather forced graduations at Tarboro High School and SouthWest Edgecombe High School inside the school’s gymnasiums Monday and Tuesday evenings. Tarboro had 123 graduates, while SouthWest had 202 graduates. The graduations were originally scheduled to take place on the schools’ football fields.
North Edgecombe High School’s graduation took place as planned in the Keihin Auditorium at Edgecombe Community College, with 74 graduates walking across the stage.
Twenty-three students became graduates of Edgecombe Early College High School in a May 23 commencement, bringing the total number of graduates of Edgecombe County Public Schools this year to 422.
North Edgecombe High School
An uplifting spirit filled the Keihin Auditorium at North Edgecombe High School’s graduation.
The Edgecombe County Gospel Choir regaled the audience with ”Still I Rise,” dedicated to the graduates. Class Valedictorian Joshua Dickens later told his classmates that it is their time to leave the nest and soar gracefully like an eagle.
“Class of 2013, it is indeed our time to fly,” Dickens said. He reminisced on the class’ experiences and ways they worked as a “team” to make it through high school successfully.
“High school just wouldn’t be high school without the team,” he said. “We did it together, hence one heart, one team, Warriors.”
John Farrelly, superintendent of Edgecombe County Public Schools, congratulated the graduates and parents and thanked the school administration for preparing the graduates to be “lifelong learners.”
North Principal Robert Batts spoke about the uniqueness of the Class of 2013 before leading the class in the turning of their tassels and proclaiming them graduates of North Edgecombe.
“Know that you will be part of a special legacy that no other school will match,” he said. Earlier in the ceremony, he bestowed special honors on several members of the class, honoring Dickens as the valedictorian and recipient of the superintendent’s award for his leadership qualities, Cierra Franklin as the salutatorian, and Tyvon Sumler as the recipient of the citizenship award for his willingness to help others. Down the road, Franklin told the graduates that they would realize their graduation day is “not the end but the beginning.”
“It was a long road. Sometimes it felt like it would never come, but it’s finally here,” said Trevonnis Archer, a graduate. “It feels like a new chapter in life.”
“It’s a great experience to accomplish all my goals and to be successful in the future,” said Deja Whitaker, also a graduate. “I’m excited.”
While Whitaker looks forward to the next step of her life journey – attending the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and studying nursing – she will always have the memories of her class at North Edgecombe.
“Everyone is close and everyone’s a family,” she said. “We all depend on one another.”
Jalen Deans, another graduate, said he enjoyed Dickens’ graduation speech.
“Everybody brought positive energy,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to seeing what everybody does after school and I’m happy to see everybody.”
Deans plans to attend William Peace University, where he will study psychology and education.