The end of a short era came to pass Tuesday night at Memorial Auditorium as the last classes among the small schools at East Wake High walked across the stage and collected their diplomas. Here’s a peek at East Wake’s graduation ceremony.
By the numbers: The East Wake School of Arts, Education and Global Studies graduated the largest class among the four schools with 80 students receiving their diplomas. The School of Engineering Systems and the School of Health Sciences both graduated 75 students. The School of Integrated Technology sent 65 alumni out into the world.
Two for one: For the second year in a row, a valedictorian gave their speech in both Spanish and English. Kayley Marchena, the School of Integrated Technology, told her fellow graduates to enjoy the moment because it will soon begin to fade in their memory. “Take pictures. Get hugs and take it all in. But make sure you find your passions, love what you do and raise hell,” Marchena said.
Invoking the famous: It remains to be seen what the future holds for members of the Class of 2015, but there was no shortage of exhortation from famous people at Tuesday’s graduation. Among the names invoked in various speeches were Confucius, Michael Jordan, Harry Truman, Nelson Mandela, Ellen DeGeneres, Taylor Swift, Gen. George Patton, Rocky Balboa and Batman.
Funny moment: School of Engineering valedictorian Lane Adams drew a big roar from his fellow graduates when he opened his remarks with the familiar radio-announcer voice he used each morning to begin the school’s morning announcements. Once the cheers died down, Adams told his fellow graduates that he had looked to them for inspiration, citing their support for the St. Baldrick’s pediatric cancer fundraiser started when the Class of 2015 were juniors. “Our goal was $500 and you raised over $800. This year we raised our goal and you raised over $2,000,” Adams said. “Thanks to you, Class of 2015, I realized I don’t need superheroes or movie characters to inspire me to work harder to reach my goals.”
Good advice: East Wake School of Arts, Education and Global Studies valedictorian Cody Staples lodged three pieces of advice into his remarks, encouraging his classmates to be determined in all they do, to do their work with humility and to be prepared to overcome adversity. Quoting President Harry S. Truman, Staples said “It’s amazing what a person can accomplish, if he doesn’t seek the credit,” Staples said.
Gotta have tunes: No ceremony would be complete without some music. The East Wake Honors Chorale – including a slew of the graduating seniors – trooped up onto the stage to perform the Broadway hit “For Good” from the musical “Wicked.” The East Wake concert band ushered the graduates in and out of the auditorium to the traditional graduation strains of “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Bumper-sticker wisdom: East Wake School of Health Sciences valedictorian Kelly Daughtridge closed the speeches Tuesday night by reeling off a host of platitudes and clichés. But then she got serious. “Being told something you can read on a bumper sticker isn’t really all that helpful,” she said. “We are at an age where we don’t know what to do. We still need the help and support of our friends and families and we need to rely on them as we take the next steps in our journey.”