06/11/06 — Goldsboro grads prepare to step into 'real world'

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Goldsboro grads prepare to step into 'real world'

By Turner Walston
Published in News on June 11, 2006 2:02 AM

Tears and cheers filled the gym at Goldsboro High School during commencement ceremonies for more than 160 graduates Friday night.

Valedictorian Shaconda Johnson challenged her classmates to take what they learned at Goldsboro and move on to the next step -- life.

"We are no longer children and now must go out and experience that thing called 'the real world,'" Shaconda said during her speech.

She is headed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall.

Shaconda said after the ceremony that she is proud of what she accomplished and that she is looking forward to college and beyond.

"I feel great," she said. "I worked hard to get where I'm at, and I'm proud to be here."

She will get ready for college life this summer by "preparing myself for nights of staying awake and studying."

But when she does head to Chapel Hill, she will take a little bit of Goldsboro with her.

Her roommate will be Goldsboro's salutatorian -- Hameka Canady.

For other Goldsboro graduates, college is not the next step.

Chaz Reid is headed to U.S. Army basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., in July.

Shortly after his 18th birthday, Chaz made the decision to enter the military.

"I plan to make a career out of it," he said.

He was happy to celebrate this first achievement, however.

"It's like a big step," Chaz said of graduation. "I'll step to the real world. It's scary, but I'm happy at the same time."

For 12 years, he said he got used to waking up and getting ready for school.

He isn't sure what to expect later this summer.

"I have no idea what I'll wake up to there," he said.

His mother, Fanny Reid Moses, isn't sure how to feel. She is proud -- and nervous.

"I'm happy, but I'm sad at the same time," Mrs. Moses said. "I'm happy that he made it. I'm sad that he's going to be leaving, but I'm still his mom, and I stand behind him."

Parent Willis Smith is proud, too.

After watching son, Dominique, receive his diploma, he provided some perspective.

"This is a beginning right here," Smith said. "There's a lot of struggles, especially for teenagers nowadays. You graduate high school, that's a big accomplishment, without getting shot, getting somebody pregnant or involved in a gang."

Dominique will attend Johnston Community College in the fall.

This story was edited to correct Shaconda Johnson's name on Wednesday, June 14, 2006