Nearly 200 graduates received their high school diploma during a graduation ceremony for the county’s four high schools on June 10.
County leaders and special guests and school board members were among those who led the processional to “Pomp and Circumstance” before the students entered. The Anson High School band, including two graduating seniors, led the crowd in the national anthem before Darian Gayton, a student with Anson High School, led the pledge of allegiance.
Daiquan Malik Bennett, a graduate from Anson Academy, said the invocation before superintendent Michael Freeman took the stage.
“This is unrehearsed, but you’ve been loved, nurtured and guided by someone for a number of years, and that someone remembers when you were given to them as a tiny baby,” Freeman said. He encouraged the students to wave towards their supporters, and friends and family members in the bleachers cheered and waved back.
Freeman noted that even though the graduates attended four different high schools, they have still gone through a good deal together through clubs, sports and other activities in the school system. He called on four of those students to give their thoughts to the graduates.
Valedictorians Kellie Sue Knight and Katelyn Nicole Stovall of Anson County Early College, Jared Michael Griffith of Anson High School, and Christopher Wayne Kelly, of Anson New Technology School, all presented for “We Are Anson.”
All four encouraged the students to remember their roots in Anson County, and the supporters who helped get them to the stage to receive their diploma and to wherever they head next.
“We all have roots here, and we’ve now finally earned our wings thanks to parents, teachers, coaches and the community,” Stovall said. “Today, we celebrate those wings. Go do big things, but never forget where your roots are.”
Freeman asked the crowd to take a moment of silence to remember two faculty members within the same department who died this school year.
The valedictorians joined Freeman again to move their tassels across their cap, leading the graduates in the ceremony before the salutatorians offered the benediction.
Jessica Ellen Wiersum, of New Tech, Emily Mikhaila Bennett of Anson High School, Ashley Lynn Teal, of Anson County Early College and Jeremias Jaquan Ingram, a representative from Anson Academy, led the benediction.
Anson County Early College had 26 graduates, New Tech had 30, Anson Academy had 19 and Anson High School had 117 graduates for a total of 192.
Six honor graduates were from Anson County Early College, three from New Tech, and 20 were from Anson High.
Six students were named North Carolina Academic Scholars: Katelyn Nicole Stovall from Anson County Early College, Christopher Wayne Kelly from New Tech, and Elizabeth Rose Delp, Darian Shane Gayton, Jared Michael Griffith and Shirleen Nicole Hall from Anson High School.
Some students received associate degrees or certificates from South Piedmont Community College in a graduation ceremony earlier this month. John Tyler Greene and Kellie Sue Knight of Anson County Early College received both a certificate and a degree, while Aaliyah Breana Parson, Katelyn Nicole Stovall and Ashley Lynn Teal, also at the early college, all received associate degrees.
Tyler David Baucom, Kelsey Taylor Brown, Romy Bolibol Dollente, Patrick Lynn Helms, Nikalus Reshon Leak, Raven Ti’Jae Pope, Diamond Aquarius Price and Jessica Ellen Wiersum, all with New Tech, received certificates.
Daysia Imani Sturdivant of Anson High School also received a certificate from South Piedmont Community College.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.