Green Hope High School is not a small school by any means.
And as the 460 graduating seniors crossed the stage at the Raleigh Convention Center Thursday, it may have taken a bit longer than the average high school graduation. But for the hundreds of friends and family gathered, the rite of passage was worth the wait.
“I held back some tears,” said Rick Grandinetti of Cary. He rushed to the holding room where his daughter Rachel and other graduates met after the ceremony.
“It’s a little sad,” Rachel Grandinetti lamented after hugging her dad. “It’s going to be a big change. It’s a big school but it was a lot of fun. I have a great group of friends.”
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Principal James Hedrick told students to be proud of their accomplishments. “In a few minutes, you’ll walk across this stage as one of the most acclaimed classes in our 13-year history. You’ll become doctors, lawyers and the captains of industry,” he said. “I want you to remember the greatest gift to society is your love and compassion.”
Shanim Patel, student body president, kept his farewell remarks brief. “We will not be forgotten by Green Hope High School,” he said. “The school shaped every one of us. Whichever path you choose, have passion and courage and faith in yourself and the others around you.”
Backstage, graduate Miles Brown traded hugs with his family and friends. The UNC Asheville-bound track team member said the school felt much smaller than its actual size.
“I had a lot of good friends,” he said. “The school has a lot of diversity and I got to hang out with an eclectic group. It’s not about cliques. You feel more of a bond with everyone.
As for the future, Miles said he wants to be involved with the film industry.
“He’ll probably be in marketing or advertising,” dad Elbert Brown said with a wink.