About 526 Garner Magnet High School seniors closed out their high school careers on Monday, walking across the stage in blue robes with yellow tassels, and collecting a diploma marking the completion of high school.
Their families sat behind them clapping their hands as they turned their tassels from left to right.
Monday’s ceremony was get in and get out, to put it mildly. Here’s a look at the event.
The National Anthem was performed by the Garner Magnet High School Die Meistersingers.
Brianiacs: 66 members of the class of 2015 graduated the N.C. Academic Scholars Program. Nine stuents graduated high school in three years. Three students received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence. GMHS seniors also drew down on $4.9 million in scholarships. Graduates of Garner High School will attend at least 60 different colleges and universities next year, including N.C. State, the university of North Carolina, N.C. Central University and Wake Tech. Some will join the military.
Valedictorian line: Ryan Calhoun, the class valedictorian, told his fellow classmates that graduation is a time to remember the things they had been through to get to the point they are now and a time to look forward.
“Fortunately each of has a unique purpose,” he said. “We all have things we are good at.”
Calhoun said he’s good at math. The boy’s state championship basketball team is good at basketball. The principals are good at leading others and one of his teachers is good at making “really bad but sometimes enjoyable math puns.”
The crowd laughed.
“You as the puzzle piece have to search within yourself to find what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing to find not where you fit in to society, but to find where you belong and where you desire to be,” Calhoun told his fellow students. “By doing what we are meant to do, we can find meaning in our lives and ultimately create a better society.”
The new principal: New principal Carter Hillman presented his students with their diplomas at his first GMHS graduation.
Hillman recognized the teachers and staff that taught the graduates.
He also said among the graduates are academic scholars, championship-caliber athletes, and highly honored musicians.
“You are part of the legacy of leadership that will inspire future Garner students,” Hillman said.
At the end of the ceremony backstage, recent graduates were met by their family members with flowers and pictures. The grads took family photos and selfies with their classmates.
Earl Hicks, 17, and his grandmother, Carole Hicks, embraced for about five minutes. She wouldn’t let go of him.
“I love you grandma,” Earl told her.
Carole Hicks said Earl was the last of her grandchildren to graduate high school.
“I don’t want to let him go,” she said, while still hugging him. “I’m so happy I don’t know what to do.”
Earl Hicks plans to pursue the Air Force now that he has graduated.