Mark of accomplishment at Western Vance
The sparkling jewels on Michelle Aguirre's French tip manicure stood out against her black graduation grown.
Her fingernails matched the glittering gems on her rings and necklace, as well as her silver shimmering four-inch heels.
At Western Vance High School's graduation ceremony, Aguirre and her 34 fellow classmates groomed and primped before heading out together for the processional in the gymnasium.
Rickita Jones could hardly contain her joy before the ceremony began.
"I'm so excited, really nervous, but excited," she said. "I'm just ready to be done with high school and start college."
Yareli Camacho, 17, said she is the first in her family to graduate from high school.
"It makes me feel proud of myself," she said
Since 2003, 536 students have graduated from Western Vance — which is the district's alternative high school for at-risk students who face a strong chance of never earning a diploma.
The ceremony was originally planned to be held on the school’s front lawn, but the venue changed due to forecasts of rain.
Ceremonies today at Southern (8 a.m.) and Northern (11 a.m.) are tentatively back on for outside, as of Friday evening.
Vance County Board of Education members Gloria White, Darlynn Oxendine, Emeron Cash, Ed Wilson and Margaret Ellis were present for the ceremony Friday night, as well as Superintendent Ronald Gregory.
Western Vance Principal Eric Pierce recognized the parents and sacrifices they made.
“You fed them, you clothed them, you took care of them best you could,” he said.
The cheering and applause from friends and families reverberated throughout the gym when each graduate’s name was called.
Pierce congratulated the graduates on their success and praised them for their hard work as Western Vance students.
State guidelines are followed for the school’s graduation requirements, though the number of credit hours are less than at Northern and Southern.
Local options allow students to get ahead independently, and the school typically holds winter and spring graduations.
The individualized help is promoted through reduced class sizes and through motivational and specialized programs.
Aguirre said Western Vance gave her the individual help she needed to do well.
“The teachers here are really nice and they really care about you,” she said. “Even if you don’t understand something, they make sure you do. All along the way, they tell us graduation is possible.”
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