Warren County High graduates 85 in morning ceremony

May. 18, 2013 @ 02:16 PM

WARRENTON — Valedictorian Lanasia Williams asked her classmates, “Can you believe it?”

Her query was of the Warren County High School Class of 2013 reaching graduation day, and the contrast of how time moves both quickly and slowly. A few moments later, through an emotionally moving speech, a crowd of several hundred family and friends understood better what it means to believe.

“If I had listened to statistics, I wasn’t supposed to stand before you today,” Williams said before being overcome with tears. The audience responded affirmatively. Roberta Scott, chairwoman of the school board, graciously stepped up beside her for comfort.

And not far away on the gym floor, her 19-months-old son Ayden beamed in the arms of his grandparents.

With a grade point average better than 4.3, she graduated with honors and distinction. Via Vance-Granville Community College, she has plans to eventually be at UNC Greensboro.

“I hope I’ve been an inspiration to others,” she said. Indeed, her testament to never giving up encapsulated the ideas of others on stage that spoke to the class.

Processing in to “Pomp and Circumstance,” graduates adorned in maroon robes exchanged hugs, huge smiles, saw the flashes of many cameras and shed tears of joy before even being seated.

About an hour later when the 85 graduates had received diplomas and moved tassels right to left, mortarboards went into the air.

Words of gratitude, challenge and appreciation came from Kayla Roberts, the salutatorian; seniors Brooke Sikes and Courtney Macklin; Warren Bell, the principal; and guest speaker Gregory Richardson, the executive director of the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs.

“Today is the next step in our lives,” Roberts said.

She noted growth in maturity and responsibility by the class and said this year was spent “blossoming into the beautiful young adults we are today.”

Bell’s address included four points of advice: choose a pathway that provides happiness, be honest and stand for justice, be a servant in the community and country, and do all that can be done while young.

“I salute you and wish you a prosperous life,” Bell said.

While the day was a culmination of 12 grades, Richardson reminded the graduates, “You’re just starting out.”

He spoke of cultural diversity continuing to be present in the county, offered challenges of the intellect and spirit, and mentioned a quartet of Warren County graduates who have made a difference after high school. He also, at various times, spoke of Faith Hedgepeth, Bill Gates and Michael Jordan.

He closed with a reference to the Bible, drawing applause, and the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, telling the class, “There is a time for everything. And today is your time.

“This is your time to celebrate. Grab the brass ring. Go for the gold.”

Contact the writer at awooten@hendersondispatch.com.