DOBSON — The Surry Early College High School of Design Commencement Friday night included a pop quiz for the departing graduates preparing to enter life where the tests often happen first with lessons following.
Student Deavyn Edwards welcomed family, friends and others and remarked he and his classmates were given the opportunity to learn from dynamic leaders who staff the school. He said the school’s field trips helped educate them as persons and not just “as students withing this school’s confines.”
“This school is full of opportunities. We enter as middle school students but attend college classes,” said Edwards. “The choice is ours to make the most of it or not. We are encouraged to be different if we are different or like everyone else if that’s what we are. We are taught to be the best person we can be while helping someone else be the best they can be.”
Teacher Jenny Alyn Key (2013-2014 Early College Teacher of the Year) served as the guest speaker for the commencement and opened with a good-natured address to “friends, and fellow Spartans” saying she had come to praise them and not bore them.
“I hope I can get through this without crying. You are really my first class (to have seen all the way through),” said Key. “You have taught me. I’m still a student. You will continue to do the same. You took a huge leap of faith to come here. When you did that you found some advantages. For one, you got that associates for free,” she said of the associate’s degree that comes with completing the school.
She then told them she would be giving them the last pop quiz while they were there on quotes from literature they had studied.
Works cited in the quiz emphasized concepts including never letting anything but your best self be shown, never leaving behind compassion, never criticizing someone without building back what has been torn down, and she even drew upon William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” to remind students to remember mercy and forgiveness.
“You’re starting on a wonderful journey and you get to decide a great part of that journey,” Key said. She next cited the word of the year, “selfie” and took a picture from the stage including herself and the class. Special music for the event was sung by Kaitlyne Colbert, Class of 2012 with Surry Central High Schools Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets performing the presentation of colors and leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Student Randy Sprinkle gave the farewell address to the graduates, and began his talk with “it was the best of times and the worst of times.” He said his penchant for doing everything at the last minute was well known by the class and a chance lyric of a song had inspired him to realize they were all soon going to be doing things on their own.
“We are no longer high school students walking through programs we don’t understand,” said Sprinkle. “We are full-fledged adults. What we have is our education, our wits and our sense of humor.” He added that one thing the Early College had taught them was they could “try anything and run with it. Put on your sunglasses classmates of 2014 because our future looks bright.”
Principal Kevin Via’s declaration of graduation included facts about the 70 members of the graduating class. He said 38 of the class have been accepted to four-year colleges or schools with 20 going on to community colleges, 12 entering the workforce, 38 were to receive associates in arts and sciences or both with one receiving an associates in science and eight receiving certifications in various applied degrees.
Via said $190,000 in scholarship monies have been offered the class, not including grants, loans and work study and the diplomas served as recognition of their more than 12 years of hard work and a cause for celebration. Phi Theta Kappa members listed in the commencement program were Edwards, Kelly Jean Ingram and Jessie Nicole Mosley.
Brittany Barker, Kaitlin Barker,Anna Culler, Justine Frost, Taylor Gabbey, Corey Galyean, Jamie Hernandez and Coua Yang served as marshals for the ceremony.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.