Southwest Wake News

June 9, 2014

A time to celebrate - but there are tears, too

Hundreds of high school seniors from western Wake County schools graduated over the weekend.

Thousands of high school seniors in Wake County graduated over the weekend. To see more photos from commencement events, go to

Apex High School

Number of graduates: 522

Sum of scholarships awarded: $3,621,019

Valedictorian: Yuming Shi

Salutatorian: Leah Weaver

Class President : Erin Valdini

Advice from valedictorian: “Always think about managing your time wisely,” Shi said. “Don’t overload yourself with trivial things.”

Lessons learned: “The most important lesson that I’ve learned is how to relate and get along with people that are different than me and how to accept ideas and opinions that are different than my own,” Shi said.

Fuquay-Varina High School

Number of graduates: 410

Sum of scholarships awarded: $3.4 million

Class motto: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Have courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs.

Senior class gift: $3,000 toward the advancement of technology at Fuquay-Varina High School

Valedictorian: James Zak

Salutatorian: Samantha LaBertew

Class president: Aubrey Haigler

Advice from valedictorian: “Take classes you are interested in,” Zak said. “In the end, you will be prouder to have classes that you have actually learned something in than getting a better GPA.”

Lessons learned: “Have fun and enjoy what you do,” Zak said. “If you do what you enjoy, and enjoy what you do, rewards will come with it.”

Panther Creek High School

Number of graduates: 576

Sum of scholarships awarded: $5,756,303

Senior class gift: Statue of a catamount, the school mascot

Valedictorian: Andrew Yin

Salutatorian: Harrison Ballard

Class president: Rony Nasrallah

Advice from valedictorian: “Be happy. Life honestly is too short to put yourself through things that you aren’t going to be happy doing,” Yin said. “You only have so much time to make a difference. If you’re happy, more likely than not you’ll be successful.”

Lessons learned: “Life isn’t fair,” Yin said. “It’s about the people around you that make it interesting and fun. People around you who support you are your biggest asset, because they will never waver when life gets tough.”


Related content



Editor's Choice Videos