Principal ‘going out’ with Norlina graduates

May. 25, 2013 @ 12:16 PM

NORLINA — Valedictorian Ryan Haley Norwood cheered on his class of five Friday night as the 17th Norlina Christian School graduation commenced in the school’s gymnasium.

“Hats off to the Norlina Christian School Class of 2013!” Norwood said.

“I couldn’t have asked for better friends to share this journey with,” said fellow valedictorian Anna Britt Harty. “Remember what we’ve been taught, let’s remember that God is with us wherever we go, and be strong in the faith.”

Also cheering on the crew of five was salutatorian Deja Lynae Palmer, making it a trio of friends who gave thanks to parents and teachers and recalled the path they journeyed together, that started when they were 5-years-old.

“Will our lives change drastically?” she asked.

All five are headed to college, as far away at Appalachian State and as close by as Vance-Granville Community College. Their lives are changing dramatically as they each step out.

Principal David Spence said he expected the graduation to be difficult for him, for it is his last at the helm of Norlina after starting there in 2001, when this crew of now graduating seniors was also just starting.

“I came in with them, and I am kind of going out with them,” Spence said. “This wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I am proud of them, and I know they will go on to great things.”

Spence said he has health disabilities that prevent him from the full-time task of leading the school, but he hopes to continue on with volunteer work there.

“This is the only job I ever loved,” Spence said.

Rev. Marc Swanner, speaker for the evening, said he wanted to point them to one most important thing: integrity.

Swanner, after congratulating them for their well-deserved achievement, encouraged them to honor God above all else each day.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.