Thousands of high school seniors in Wake County graduated over the weekend. To see more photos from commencement events, go to nando.com/gradpics.
Apex High School
Number of graduates: 522
Sum of scholarships awarded: $3,621,019
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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.”