Northern graduates glad they made it

Jun. 14, 2014 @ 04:39 PM

Northern Vance High School graduates marched from the school’s courtyard to the stadium chanting, “14.”

Excitement and bliss could describe Saturday’s commencement ceremony at the school’s football stadium, where 207 graduates received their diplomas.

Brandy Wynn said it was a huge accomplishment in a time when graduating isn’t considered cool anymore.

“Congrats to all of them,” she said. “They’ve done something that people probably told them they weren’t going to do.”

Wynn said she was pleased to watch two cousins, her best friends and her friend’s son graduate all in one day.

Twins McKenzie and Elizabeth Gay said it seemed unreal.

“A lot of us have been together so long, in charter school and the public school,” McKenzie Gay said. “It’s hard to see everyone branch out and go their separate ways.”

Even so, the Gays will stick together and attend Wake Technical Community College in the fall.

Calvin Plummer said graduation left him speechless.

“I am very excited,” he said while wiping tears from his eyes. “This means if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish all things.”

Plummer said his next step is ITT Tech to get an associate degree in criminal justice.

“I am going to be a police officer,” he said.

Families mingled outside the stadium after the ceremony, waiting to reunite with their children.

Don Stith held up a congratulatory sign for his daughter, Jasmine Stith, so she would be able to see him and her mother when she came out of the school.

“It’s a long journey that has come to an end but starts another because she is going to college,” he said.

The class received more than $1.3 million in scholarships with invitations to various colleges across North Carolina.

Co-valedictorians Victoria Jackson and Whitney Johnson told their peers to keep striving for success by staying spiritually grounded and writing their own life stories.

Graduate Devin Anderson said he would do just that as he continues his education at East Carolina University.

“I feel good,” he said. “I am excited, but it’s just another day for me. I have to keep going. I have more work to do.”

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.