Southern Wayne High School
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on June 10, 2007 2:01 AM
With tears streaming down his face, Southern Wayne High School senior Brian Newsome accepted the award for 13 years of perfect attendance at his school's annual commencement ceremony Friday.
Brian said the award was the realization of a goal he has worked toward since he was a little boy.
He achieved it, he said, in honor of his grandfather.
"He told me to try my hardest all the time," the honor student said. "And I did it. I knew I was going to do it from the start."
The only sad part of realizing his dream, he said, was that his grandfather was not there to see it. He died last year. Brian said the rest of his family and friends picked up the job of helping him stick to his goal.
Brian said he plans to continue striving to do his best as he continues his education. He plans to study criminal justice with the hope of becoming a law enforcement officer in Goldsboro or Wayne County.
He was one of 236 graduates leaving their high school days behind them during the Southern Wayne commencement Friday at Mount Olive College.
Valedictorian Bridget Parvin used a graduation cap to demonstrate her successes throughout school. The button in the middle is the common point that is the same for all of her classmates, she said, representing graduation success.
The cap's four points are areas in their lives that lead in to the center success point.
"Take time to ponder what your four points are that make your cap unique and meaningful and realize that these things form your support system to succeed in the future," she said.
Allen Michael Young knew who his support system was throughout school. His mother, uncles, aunts and teachers "gave me a little leeway when I needed it," he said. "But they were also tough on me along the way."
His aspirations include getting an auto body work degree from Wayne Community College before going on to a four-year college in Durham.
Kendra Atkinson also plans to go to Wayne Community. Her dream is to become a kindergarten teacher.
The graduate said she has had lots of ups and downs throughout her school years, but added that she persevered because of support from God and her family.
She said it felt good to walk across the stage and receive her high school diploma.
Graduates were not the only ones elated at Friday night's commencement. Friends and relatives also shared in the excitement.
Eloise McDaniel was there to see her granddaughter, Lashanda McDaniel, receive her diploma.
"This was marvelous," she said. Her granddaughter plans to attend East Carolina University for a nursing career. Eventually, she wants to become a pediatrician.
Putting a hold on her education, Nelsina Pearsall has a full-time job waiting for her at the Wayne Opportunity Center.
It was a "glorious" day for her grandmother, Blondell Parks, there to see her first grandchild graduate from high school.
"There was a lot of ups and downs getting to this point," Ms. Parks said.
Raised by her dad, Nelsina was special from the start, said her aunt, Carrie Kornegay. Weighing less than a pound at birth, her mother died two days after delivering her, Ms. Kornegay said.
"And we thought we were going to lose her, too. But God brought that baby through."
And, on Friday night, that little baby had become a young woman -- and a high school graduate.
A moment to be proud of, her family said.
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