05/25/07 — Private schools honor Class of '07 tonight

View Archive

Private schools honor Class of '07 tonight

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 25, 2007 1:45 PM

Four high school graduation ceremonies will be held tonight -- three private schools and a non-traditional initiative added by Wayne County Public Schools this year.

Seven of the eight valedictorians and salutatorians representing the schools had been former classmates at another school. Two of the valedictorians are cousins.

Wayne Christian School, with 21 graduates, will hold ceremonies at 7 p.m. today in the school gym. The Rev. David Jackson, pastor of Freedom Baptist Church and the father of graduate Ryan Jackson, will be speaking.

Student speakers include Tyler Brannan, valedictorian, and salutatorians Martha Summerlin and Nick Woods.

Brannan and Miss Summerlin have plans to attend N.C. State University in the fall, while Woods said he will go to Campbell University.

Faith Christian Academy already held baccalaureate ceremonies on Sunday. Graduation is slated for 7 p.m. tonight in the Faith Free Will Baptist Church auditorium, with 18 graduates receiving diplomas. The Rev. Dann Patrick will speak, along with valedictorian Josh Brannan and salutatorian Allen Ray Darby.

Brannan said he will attend Lee University in Tennessee this fall. Darby is undecided.

Wayne Country Day School has 20 graduates and three valedictorians this year -- Ashley Clark, Kyle Pender and Yoojin Suh. Miss Clark intends to go to Clemson University, while Pender will be going to N.C. State. Miss Suh plans to go to East Carolina University.

Baccalaureate ceremonies were Thursday at St. Joseph's United Methodist Church in Pikeville. Graduation is tonight at 7 p.m. in the school gym. Diane Price, head of the English department and senior English teacher, will speak. In addition to the valedictorians' speeches, each senior will be allowed 30 seconds to make comments during the presentation of diplomas.

All except Miss Suh, a student from Korea, said they had previously crossed paths. At one point, several noted, they were all students at another local school. The Brannans are cousins.

The final school represented, Wayne Early/Middle College, was introduced this year on the Wayne Community College campus as part of the public schools system. Today at 7 p.m. in Moffatt Auditorium, 22 diplomas will be presented.

In lieu of a valedictorian or salutatorian, the non-traditional program will have students who volunteered to speak during the ceremony, principal Lee Johnson said. The class boasts an array of experiences, she noted, from a student who accumulated 27 college credits, one who completed high school in three years, as well as a 16-year-old and a 20-year-old who will be receiving dipilomas.

Students in the program had the opportunity to take college classes to meet their high school elective requirements and begin their college careers, Ms. Johnson said. Future enrollees will be able to graduate with a two-year or college transfer degree.

"It's an exciting culmination of the first year of a brand new initiative," she said. "We feel it's been very successful and we look forward to expanding."

In its initial stage, the school had juniors and seniors, with ninth grade to be added in the fall. Eventually, Ms. Johnson said, the school will house all four high school grades and students will only be able to enter in ninth grade.