Rowan County Early College graduates 61

Published 10:09 pm Friday, May 24, 2019

By Andie Foley

CHINA GROVE — As Rowan County Early College Principal Patrick Hosey faced the Class of 2019 at Friday’s graduation ceremony, he encouraged the graduates to continue to be trailblazers.

The group of 61, he said, had four years ago chosen to leave many of their middle school friends behind and to forego the traditional high school experience.

Instead, he said, they embarked on a more rigorous academic journey that would set them apart for the rest of their lives as they graduated with not just a high school diploma but a two-year associate degree.

Friday’s ceremony, held in the auditorium at Carson High School in China Grove, awarded the students’ their high school diplomas

“The amount of work, sacrificing and grit it takes for a student to complete this program is staggering,” Hosey said. “Most early colleges are five-year schools. We expect our students to achieve this goal in just four.”

Eisa Cox, executive director of programs for Rowan-Salisbury Schools, called the early college experience an amazing program.

“What you all have and what you have experienced is like nothing else,” she told the graduates.

Junior marshals for the graduation were Slaven Brborovic, Sean Edwards, Samantha Brown, Grissel Medina Hernandez, Claire Allen, Jasmine Finger, Jacqueline Moore, Parkston Myers, Virginia Star Dula and Diana Sanchez.

Salutatorian Sarah Clifton and valedictorian Bobby Cain spoke during the ceremony, calling their early college experience one of a kind.

Clifton said the support and guidance she’d received from her family, friends and educators along the way encouraged her to “be the best me that I can be.”

“(They) always pushed me to do my best,” she said. “Some pushed harder than others.”

Regardless, she said, early college taught her that learning can be fun.

For Cain, the uniqueness of early college extended beyond its academic pathways.

“Everyone in this class has such a wide array of talents that is so fascinating to me,” he said. “We have people who are more academically inclined, artistically inclined or athletically inclined and in all of these aspects … I know that each and every person in the class of 2019 puts 110% into everything that they need to do.”

The 2019 class, he said, is the largest graduating class in the history of Rowan County Early College, something he said encapsulates hard work and perseverance in one.

“We are driven, ambitious and ready for our future,” he said. “The Class of 2019 is going to be so successful, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for everyone on the stage.”