‘It was all worth it’ : Area graduates finish high school career
By Jessica Coates
CHINA GROVE — On the scoreboard to the right of South Rowan High School’s football field were the following numbers: Guest score, 6; South score, 10; time, 20:17.
As the 190 graduating seniors walked from the school’s parking lots, down the steps and toward their seats on the football field, the numbers hung over them, reminding them of what this day meant.
6/10/2017. The day that the class of South Rowan High School – and the classes of six other Rowan County high schools – graduated.
“We should all feel successful,” said South Rowan salutatorian Abby Blume. “We should feel pride knowing that we have made it this far.”
Blume was the fourth of seven students to speak at the South Rowan commencement ceremony. In her speech, she elaborated on the definition of success and the way that it is linked to failure.
“Today’s society has made it acceptable to sweep failure under the rug and not really talk about it. But, you see, life forces us to face the mistakes that we have made. How we handle this failure, that is the foreshadow for how we will handle success,” she said.
Blume was introduced to the stage by South Rowan’s valedictorian, Connor Anne Henderson. Henderson called Blume one of her “good friends.”
“While writing this speech, I couldn’t find just one word to describe her. She is intelligent, determined, caring, and always seems to brighten my mood and make me laugh,” Henderson said of Blume.
Blume finished with a 4.96 GPA and will be attending North Carolina State University to study biology.
Henderson finished her high school career with a 5.0 GPA and will be attending Western Carolina University to study art education.
When asked how she achieved such a high GPA, Henderson said it took “a lot of work and a lot of crying. But it was all worth it.”
Six other Rowan County high schools also had their graduation ceremonies Saturday morning —North Rowan, East Rowan, Salisbury, West Rowan, Carson and Henderson.
North Rowan’s ceremony was temporarily disrupted by a medical emergency in the audience. But, after the brief pause, 127 students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Mai Xe Vang was named North Rowan’s valedictorian; Brianna White was named its salutatorian.
East Rowan’s ceremony was ushered in with a poem by Edgar Albert Guest titled “It Couldn’t Be Done,” which was read by principal Julia Erdie.
248 students graduated from East Rowan; Paola Lisette Rivera was named valedictorian and Nicholas Evan Lyerly was named salutatorian.
Salisbury High School saw 152 students graduate and those students earned $5.4 million in scholarship offers.
Sharmi Amin was Salisbury’s valedictorian; Mathias de Comarmond and Isabella Alvarez tied for salutatorian.
Students at West Rowan remembered one of their own, Ella Ferguson, who died on Nov. 6 after a fatal car crash. Ferguson would have graduated with the class of 2017.
Carson’s ceremony began with a choral piece, performed by the school’s senior chorus.
James Paul Barringer was named Carson’s valedictorian; Adrian Vergara Salcedo was named its salutatorian.
Henderson Independent High School had 10 students graduate.
Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.
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