Rowan County high school seniors ready to take big step into the future with graduation

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 8, 2018

SALISBURY — Today is the last day of school. As youngsters are racing to the buses and dreaming of summer vacation, more than 1,000 Rowan-Salisbury students are preparing to take their final big step.

Public school commencement ceremonies begin bright and early at 8 a.m. Saturday. All graduations will be held in individual school stadiums, weather permitting.

The Class of 2018 has seen growth and change during its time in Rowan-Salisbury Schools — from the rise of the one-to-one initiative to the birth of school academy programs. Over the past four years, classrooms have changed from rows of desks to collaborative, communal spaces; coding and robotics have become the norm.

As the classrooms and schools changed, the world changed with it. When students accept their diplomas in the steamy heat of a June morning, the world they step into is a very different one from the one that ushered them into high school. But they, too, have changed.

Graduates plan to attend prestigious schools like Vanderbilt University. They have been active in their communities and begun putting their marks on the world.

Students might be preparing to go out and meet their futures, but the future should prepare for them, too.

Here is more information on the commencements:

• West Rowan High School will award 261 diplomas. Student speakers will be Ben Zino, Stacey Ketchie, Matt Arntsen and Emanual Britt.

Junior marshals are Mayerlin Alpizar-Vargas, Elizabeth Brumley, Victoria Carelton-Bartel, Kacy Cole, Henry Hall, Adisynne Henley, Brooklynn Hoffner, Payton Holt, Kaley Honeycutt, Alanna Keys, Morgan Koontz, Abraham Long, Kemuel Mauney, Rustyn Orbison, Chloe Patterson, Deja Phillippe, Ashley Radtke, Sarah Roakes and Sage Staley.

• South Rowan High School will award 229 diplomas. Students Addison Wise and Angelina Palaios will speak at the ceremony.

Junior marshals are Gavin Thompson, Madison Allmän, Katie Chen, Bailee Elliott, Gracie James, Sarah Maynor, Kristen Minehart, Rachel Scoggins, Lauren Shell and Haley Sloop.

• Jesse C. Carson High School will graduate 258 seniors. Student speakers are Gabrielle Sias Jolly, Taylor Elizabeth Wiggins, Joshua Cole Hunter and Abigail Jo Smith.

Junior marshals are Garrett Alewine, Mallory Challis, Dallas Cobb, Kira Cornelius, Matthew Jenkins, Hannah Jones, Heather Mauzy, Cade Rodgers, Hayden Trayah, Ada Wong, Macy Woody and Lauren Yousey.

• East Rowan High School will graduate 222 seniors.

Junior marshals are Peyton Berry, Camryn Bost, Katlyn Byrd, Josh Evers, Lanie Fulk, Landon Ketchie, Jocelyn Miller,  Nate Turner, Victoria Plyler and Vallie Vazquez.

• North Rowan High School will award 150 diplomas.

Junior marshals are Jared P. Hensley, chief marshal; Spencer C. Everhart, Emily V. Hartsell, Caylinn E. Helm, J. Sydney Patton, Hans I. Roemer, Amelia J. Small, McKenzie B. Shoaf, Rhiannon S. Standard, Logan C. Stoner.

• Salisbury High School will award 189 diplomas. Student speakers include Katana Clarissa Alexander, Julia Caroline Honeycutt, Ethan Christopher Knorr, Mary Caroline Kaufmann, Bethanie Lyn Stauffer and Callie Lyerly Kirchin.

Junior marshals are Ellen Simons, Laura Bullock, Roarke Burton, Tessa Brown, Kiera Cherry, Blake Clark, Olivia Dagenhart, Joel Davies, Sydney Edwards, Jackson Fisher, Jason Grenoble and Lila Harry.

• Rowan County Early College held its graduation on May 25. The school awarded 52 diplomas during the evening ceremony at Carson High School.

Principal Patrick Hosey provided the welcome and spoke to the graduating class. Academic student speakers included valedictorians Megan Guzman and Christopher Shupe and salutatorian Johnson Huyhn. Guest speakers were Cynthia Misenheimer, founding principal of Rowan County Early College, and Eisa Cox, Rowan-Salisbury Schools director of secondary schools.

Junior marshals were Bobby Cain, Sarah Clifton, Alex Blackwelder, Zachary Yuhas, Christopher Camacho, Todd Stephens, Victoria Magana Granados, Isel Quintero, Riley Owens and Gabriela Villafana.

• Henderson Independent High School will award eight diplomas. Commencement will be at Wallace Educational Forum, 500 N. Main St., at 8 a.m. Ray Gray will be the speaker.

• A.L. Brown High School will graduate more than 350 seniors. More than 40 will graduate summa cum laude, more than 30 will graduate magna cum laude and more than 40 seniors will graduate cum laude.

Arshad Baruti, student council president, will make the welcome speech. The guest speaker will be Nicholas Buckwell, an A.L. Brown alumnus. The keynote speaker will be A.L. Brown English teacher Jennifer Linn, who was selected by the graduates.

The ceremony will be in A.L. Brown Memorial Stadium.

• Gray Stone Day School’s graduation will be held at 7 tonight in the school gymnasium. The school will award 105 diplomas — its largest class to date.

Tyler Lunsford will provide the welcome; Annika Kuleba and Nick Rokos will present the class gifts.  Anna Lewis will introduce U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, and Miriam Roy will sing. The Gray Stone Singers accompanied by junior Kevin Agner on cello also will perform.
Senior speakers are Connor Rokos, Thomas Perrell and Kaayva Ravikumar.
Junior marshals are Kevin Agner, Alexa Bolin-Santiago, Hunter Cutting, Madison Hatley, Mariah Helms, Kynsay Hunt, Anna Morgan, Monica Rivell, Arsha Sharma, Rohan Sharma, Rhianna Weavil and Natalie Yehle.

• North Hills Christian School held its graduation May 25. The school awarded 18 diplomas at an evening ceremony in Helen Kelley Smith Gymnasium. Doris Plummer, school AIM coordinator, was the commencement speaker. Dean Gilmore was valedictorian; Catherine Johnson was salutatorian.

Junior marshals were Colby Edmonds and Audrey McGrail.

• Rowan County Homeschool Association held its commencement May 19 at Kannapolis Church of God with 14 graduates. The welcome was by the Rev. Dennis Welch, and the invocation by Pastor Dustin Dupre. The commencement speaker was Pastor Jon Sherrill of Grace Baptist Church in China Grove.

Junior marshals were Anthony Blandino, Chandler Brown, Corey Cone, Madison Desrosiers, Emily Fleener, John Lee, Clayton Lewis, Graycen Murray, Olivia Smith, Parker Smith, Zachary Stevenson, Holly Wallace and Benjamin Weimer.

• Rockwell Christian School held its graduation May 26 at Bethel Baptist Church in Rockwell. Pastor Brad Higgins was the speaker. The school awarded six diplomas.

The valedictorian was Michael Hoehman.

Junior Marshals were Josh Cox, Mason McDaniel and Nathan Vanderford.