06/11/11 — Cougars prepare for their future

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Cougars prepare for their future

By Gary Popp
Published in News on June 11, 2011 11:43 PM

A large crowd of family and friends cheered loudly Saturday morning as Goldsboro High School's Class of 2011 walked across the football field to take their seats near the 50-yard line to start the anticipated graduation ceremony.

For the 142 graduates, the ceremony marked the beginning of a new chapter.

Coreteiz Sprangle, who will attend Methodist University in Fayetteville next year, said coming to the school helped him cope with losing his mother at age 12.

"Teachers here really care about you," he said. 'They really want to see you succeed, and they really help you out. ... I won't say it took (her) place, but it kind of filled the hole that was in my heart."

For him, the school became a surrogate family. He participated in basketball, football and track and also was involved in Rotary Club and Future Business Leaders of America.

He attributes some of his accomplishments to a drive first instilled by his mother.

"She wanted me to do the best I can, so I strive for excellence," Coreteiz said.

As class valedictorian, Habekah Cannon reminded the students that they had reached an important milestone, noting that high school is only one segment in the journey of life.

For her, the next step begins this summer when she gets a head start on her college studies at Hampton University in Virginia, where she will study English.

She might have attended several schools along the way -- from moving to Africa at age 4 with her missionary parents, Dwight and BeLinda Cannon, to being homeschooled for several years -- but says she is glad she wound up at Goldsboro her senior year and became part of the graduating class.

"I could not have chosen a better place to graduate from," Miss Cannon said. "The counselors, the teachers, the principal, everything was amazing. They were helpful. I felt right at home. We got work done, and it was a great year."

Walking onto the football field to join his daughter after the ceremony, Cannon held a giant bundle of colorful balloons.

"I am just elated," he said. "I am just proud of her."

Mrs. Cannon was equally proud, admitting she was hanging on to every word of her daughter's speech as valedictorian.

"I was so excited. I couldn't even cry," Mrs. Cannon said. "She really is a wonderful young lady. She sets goals and she strives to reach those goals."

Miss Cannon said she was likewise grateful for the family support she had received.

"I thank my parents for being there through it all," she said. "I feel like I have the best parents in the world, the best support system, and I think that makes all the difference because having that support system and your own will help out."