06/14/09 — Cheers break out, 'Silly string' flies at CBA graduation

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Cheers break out, 'Silly string' flies at CBA graduation

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 14, 2009 2:00 AM

Kelsey Berens was ready to graduate from Charles B. Aycock High School Friday night.

"I think I am quite deserving of being out of here -- I have been here four years," she said outside the school before the final line-up. "But I'm also going to miss my friends who are undergrads. It's just a milestone and I will remember it."

The honor graduate plans to go to Wayne Community College in the fall and later transfer to an art institute, with aspirations of becoming a freelance artist or work in photography.

Eighty-six-year-old Beatrice Williams was holding out hope a family member would bring her promised ticket for admission. The mother of 13 said she was there to witness her first great-grandchild, Shaniqua Williams, walk across the stage.

Moments later, she passed through the gate, ticket in hand.

Tenaya Gibson graduated from the school last year, returning with a handful of balloons to present to friends Nicole Lofton and Comeshia Crawford.

Vivian Crawford said Comeshia is her second child to graduate, and plans to attend Wayne Community in the fall.

Meanwhile, marshals for the event, decked out in black suits despite the oppressive heat, attended to last-minute details.

Marquis Peacock said being a marshal "is a lot of work, more than I thought."

Still, the junior said of the event that will be his next year, "It's pretty exciting, I guess. You get to see your friends walk across the stage into adulthood."

Rona Lee, there to support daughter Gabby Lee, said, "I'm all out of whack. It's stressful. I have not slept all week long."

Gabby's boyfriend Nick Crocker bragged a little on his girlfriend.

"She's worked real hard. She's been real focused," he said. "She has a job so was balancing school and working. I'm real proud of her.

Dr. Earl Moore, CBA principal, also boasted about the Class of 2009, calling it "the finest class to ever pass through here."

With 290 diplomas conferred, it was also the largest class to graduate from the school, he said, and received the largest amount of scholarship money ever awarded in the school's history, slightly over $4 million.

Salutatorian Gavin Williford asked his classmates to look at life as a book they're been writing since the day they were born -- covering their happiest moments of childhood that culminated in their last day at Aycock.

"Now your book is on the last page of part one," he said, before challenging the graduates to make their visions a reality.

"So hold onto your faith, your family and your friends, and go write your bestseller so that the back cover reads: Success. Satisfaction. Contentment. True happiness."

Valedictorian Stephanie Walsh said the graduates were standing on the threshold of their futures -- going to college, getting a job and living a good life.

"We have great chances, great adventures ahead of us," she said. "Situations may get in the way of us achieving our goals, but we need to find a way to walk around them and not fall in. We need to take what comes to us and go beyond it, never quitting and always finding new solutions to our problems."