Over 300 graduates (338 to be exact) and their families gathered in 93-degree heat on June 10 for Knightdale High School’s 2014 graduation ceremony.
Although the evening ceremony missed the hottest part of the day, families still clamored to enter the Duke Performing Arts Center in Raleigh.
And even though some of the graduates continued to feel the heat inside Raleigh’s Memorial Auditorium, using their programs as fans sustained them as students accepted diplomas, reflected on the last four years and reminded each other of the important things that are still to come.
The importance of rules: Knightdale’s graduation was governed by strict rules.
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Girls in black heels and boys in black pants with black shoes were the official uniform of KHS grads, as set forth in a graduation guide distributed at school before the big day.
The guide warned students that if they didn’t abide by the dress code and other rules, they would be removed from the ceremony.
The ceremony was guided by strict rules on behalf of the school and the Duke Performing Arts Center staff – a guest passed out while waiting for entry. She required paramedics and although Duke staff let her inside, they were sticklers about waiting to let other guests in before graduates.
Enthusiastic families: Even with strict rules, some guests found their way around them.
Graduation rules from Wake County Public Schools warned guests that certain items would be confiscated before entering graduation ceremonies.
Noisemakers, although specifically banned in the county’s graduation notices, found their way into Knightdale’s ceremony.
But guests were respectful, quieting during the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance. Their enthusiasm resurfaced immediately after though, cheering and congratulating their graduates.
And graduates were just as noisy, often being the first to begin the cheers and applause.
Honors: In their class of 338, Knightdale’s Class of 2014 had 75 honors students, 23 members of NHS and three early graduates: Kanika Boone, Starr Chavis and Edwin Ogachi.
They also recognized 15 outstanding seniors for other achievements, including athletics.
A year for moving on: It was principal Carla Jernigan-Baker’s last year presiding over Knightdale High’s commencement, after being named principal of the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy a few weeks ago.
Jernigan-Baker didn’t make her own speech and nobody mentioned her impending departure.
Instead, the goodbyes were left to the student speakers.
A lesson in timing: Valedictorian Roslayn Hatlen and salutatorian Shelly Guo had similar wisdowm to impart on their classmates: the best is yet to come.
“Don’t think of this as an end of your journey,” Hatlen said. “Today is just the beginning.”
Guo, however, made her classmates think about how they see time and what times they hold closest.
The past, she told her classmates, is not as fleeting as they might think.
“Nothing is really lost or forgotten,” she said. She reminded them to let go of the past to make room for new experiences.
And class president Alexus Duncan said the same.
“Honor the past and embrace the future,” Duncan said.