06/10/07 — Goldsboro High School graduation

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Goldsboro High School graduation

By Lee Williams
Published in News on June 10, 2007 2:01 AM

Makita Brown craned her neck in the crowd Friday to catch a glimpse of her daughter, Karissa, as the 105 seniors took their places at the start of the Goldsboro High School graduation ceremony.

"There she is," Ms. Brown of Goldsboro shouted to family and friends.

"Karissa" they screamed in unison as the 18-year-old honor graduate, waved back.

As the traditional tune, "Pomp and Circumstance," blared from the speakers, the graduates decked out in blue and gold robes marched down the aisle two at a time.

Ms. Brown beamed as Karissa marched by. She said she never had been more proud of her daughter, who plans to one day become a school superintendent.

Others in the crowd gleamed with pride, too, as the processional continued. Some graduates smiled while others fought back tears.

The graduates stood as Goldsboro High School principal Pat Burden took the podium. "I present to you, the Class of 2007," she said.

At that moment, the crowd erupted into deafening cheers.

The school's valedictorian, Tremaine Rawls, who finished with a 4.6 GPA and earned a Bill Gates Scholarship, was among those who addressed the crowd Friday night.

He reflected on his 12 years and spoke of how the lessons he learned in school have shaped him and made him a better person.

He told the crowd that the Class of 2007 was the eighth Wonder of the World and said that while some might overlook his classmates' greatness that he believed in them and their ability to pursue their dreams -- no matter what the obstacle.

He also thanked his mother, Rosa, who raised him and his siblings on her own. He also thanked his siblings, teachers and friends for the help that they had given him along the way.

As the words of thanks spilled from his lips, he broke down into tears. The future Norfolk State University student choked back emotion as he continued.

"We are living in a society where some people do not care about your well-being," Tremaine said. "It's like crabs in a barrel. When one crab is almost at the top, the other crabs try to pull it back down to the bottom. You will have people tell you you only got something under certain circumstances."

He told his classmates to go out and conquer the world.

"I challenge each one of you to climb until you reach your happiness and your greatness, whatever that may mean to you," he said. "You have to be in pursuit of happiness and greatness or it may never come to your life. Prove everyone wrong who ever told you that you're going to fail by doing the exact opposite. Thanks for listening and congratulations to the Class of 2007. We made it."

Mrs. Burden said the graduating class wasn't a large class, but she believes the class showed a lot of promise, and she knows they will go far in life.

"This is a very promising class, and they are a very close knit class," she said. "They really do get along very well and they are very supportive of each other and they look out for each other.

"They are unique because, in my words, I tell them they are social butterflies, but they are hard workers, and they do have great potential and so they will be able to do whatever they want to do."