06/14/09 — Heat doesn't stop graduation celebration at Rosewood HS

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Heat doesn't stop graduation celebration at Rosewood HS

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

Coveted seats in the bleachers filled up early at Rosewood High School Saturday morning, but those able to gather in shaded areas didn't seem to mind.

Linda Babb stood by a fence with younger daughter, Karen, who will graduate from the school next year. They were there to support older sibling Paige and her 123 classmates receiving diplomas.

"It really hasn't sunk in yet," Mrs. Babb said.

"Ask her in August," said neighbor Sally Pope, a former teacher at the school.

"I guess when they start playing the music it's going to sink in," Mrs. Babb said.

Paige will attend Mary Baldwin College in Virginia in the fall, her mother said, majoring in communications and broadcasting and playing volleyball for the school.

Alongside the football field were umbrellas providing shade and one group that brought bubble-guns and a portable fan attached to the fence.

"How can you describe it?" asked Lori Phillips, whose daughter Christie was graduating. "Every (graduation) is as special as the one before -- the excitement that they're graduating and the excitement that it's about to be over with, finally. Just all kinds of emotions rolled up in one."

Her sister, Kelly Pelt, stood nearby, anxiously awaiting her son Richard Pelt's moment in the limelight.

"I'm a bundle of nerves," she said. "I'm excited."

"This is her first child and my last one" to graduate from high school, Mrs. Phillips said. "So we're going to have a big party for them tonight."

The cousins plan to go to Wayne Community College in the fall, their mothers said.

John Mansfield and wife Sherlene came out to support granddaughter Rachael Bill on her graduation day.

"We're just very happy to be here and very proud," Mrs. Mansfield said.

Mom Mandy Bill was also proud of her daughter.

"She has done amazing, just graduating with honors," she said. "She's going to nursing school at Wayne Community and will transfer to ECU."

For the graduates, commencement comes after a tumultuous few years of events in the world -- from 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina to a tsunami and the fall of the economy.

Salutatorian Meredith Grantham said the things they have witnessed have helped determine who each of them has become. From parents and grandparents to teachers and friends, she expressed appreciation for all that had been part of preparing the students for their futures.

"We are here today as a symbol of one door closing and another opening," she said. "Today will become the past tomorrow and today will be another magical evnt that we can say changed our lives and that we will never forget. Today we remember everything that has brought us here and everything that will guide us in the future."

Look for miracles and then be one, said Valedict-orian Caroline Keen in her message.

"To follow the old cliché, 'Actions do speak louder than words.' We cannot take back either so choose wisely and think things through," she said. "Others can push us in the right direction and guide us, but we must take action. We have to follow through with what we say we are going to do and actually do it. We are entering the real world now, where we are held accountable for every action. We are the future and it is up to us to decide what the world will be like."