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East Rowan High School 2017 graduation

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East Rowan High School  — Principal Julia Erdie welcomed attendees and graduates at East Rowan High School’s ceremony with a reading of the poem “It Couldn’t Be Done” by Edgar Albert Guest.

The poem follows an unnamed ‘he,’ who perseveres and accomplishes despite discouragement from and doubt of others.

“Always remember that you can do it,” Erdie said to the graduates after the poem’s close. Her message of seizing moments and opportunities would be a common thread throughout the ceremony.

Hannah Mayhew, student body president, offered words of advice borrowed from her grandfather.

“Always take time to slow down and live each moment for what it’s worth,” said Mayhew. She further encouraged her fellow graduates to avoid taking moments for granted. Even hardships, she said, are meant to help one grow.

Honored graduates would include Emily Judith Avalos and Faith Ann Faller, recipients of the Human Relations Awards; Hannah Elizabeth Mayhew and Jonathan Samuel Ritchey, recipients of the Service Awards; Haley Reanon Cole and Sawyer Benjamin Russel, recipients of the Leadership Awards; and Addison Leigh Bost and Jake Allen Gregory, recipients of the Civitan Citizenship Awards.

Recipients of this year’s Scholarship Awards, given to the male and female students with the highest overall GPAs during their ninth through 12th grade years, were valedictorian Paola Lisette Rivera and salutatorian Nicholas Evan Lyerly.

Both Rivera and Lyerly would extend heartfelt thanks to those who helped them achieve academically.

“To my teachers, each of you have left a lasting impression on my education,” Rivera said.

Senior Class President Haley Cole echoed this sentiment, offering special remarks before East Rowan’s 248-person graduating class received their diplomas.

“We couldn’t have done it without the love and support of teachers, administrators, and most importantly, our families,” Cole said.

— Andie Foley

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