05/27/05 — Making us proud: Valedictorian takes time to show appreciation

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Making us proud: Valedictorian takes time to show appreciation


When Ashlyn James stood in front of the Dillard/Goldsboro Alumni scholarship reception Thursday night, she could have said plenty about herself.

She has earned offers of more than $360,000, and she is this year’s valedictorian at Goldsboro High School. In addition to her academic record, she is a star athlete and has completed an impressive amount of service to her school, church and community.

So, when she was awarded the alumni group’s highest honor, a merit scholarship, she could simply have listed her accomplishments and been well within her rights.

But that is not what Miss James did.

She took the time to recognize the teachers, principal and family who got her to where she is today. She thanked them for their dedication, their time and their commitment to making her the best possible person she could be.

And then, she acknowledged her fellow graduates, all of whom have accomplished something significant, she said.

It is not easy for us to remember sometimes that the young people we honor really have grown up. Their families and friends remember them not as high school graduates, but as little children heading off to kindergarten for the first time or scoring their first touchdowns in peewee football. It is hard for many of them and others who know them to believe that they will be donning caps and gowns this weekend.

We also forget that many of these young people are already wiser than we ever were, and that they really have learned the lessons their families and schools have tried to teach them.

Miss James is just one example of the many young Wayne County residents who will make us proud someday, not because of their big salaries or successful careers, although we will celebrate those, too. They will make us proud because they will not forget where they are from and who helped get them to the heights they will achieve.

Miss James is right. We should be proud of everyone who will receive a diploma this weekend, and we should all thank the parents, teachers, administrators, church leaders and community members who helped them get to that podium.

Published in Editorials on May 27, 2005 1:20 PM