06/11/11 — Eagles' Class of 2011 soars

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Eagles' Class of 2011 soars

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 11, 2011 11:43 PM

One of Kelly Best's parting memories of Rosewood as she prepared to graduate Friday night was far removed from academics.

"My medal broke about 10 minutes ago," the valedictorian said as the seniors lined up in the gym. "Coach (Ryan) Wells and Ms. (Rhonda) Greenup helped me fix it -- they were like Macgyver."

In her graduation speech, Kelly thanked those who had helped the students soar, then challenged her Eagle classmates to "leave the nest better than we found it."

"We must always keep our integrity intact," she said. "Integrity is one of the few things that you truly have that cannot be taken from you. We are in control of our actions and it's up to you to do the right things and to continue to represent the Rosewood community well.

"We want the world to see how our small school values, integrity and pride are an important part of our day-to-day lives."

Dakota Hersey, salutatorian, recounted memories, for some, of having been together for 13 years -- through "some tough teachers and exams, drama, relationships, athletics, proms, a senior project that seemed never-ending and attempting to avoid all the potholes that they just decided to fix now that we're done" -- all of which contributed to making them a family.

"I have been here all 13 years, and I went to the day care here, too," graduate Leia Daniels said. "It's sad but exciting."

Miss Daniels plans to attend Wayne Community College in the fall under the college transfer program before continuing her studies to become a Christian therapist.

Paige Herring said she is enrolled at Mount Olive College to major in agriculture education.

"I came here in sixth grade and I was totally scared to death, and now I feel like I'm going to leave my family," she said.

Jacquez Raynor applied to four colleges and opted for Notre Dame, where he received a track scholarship.

"It's bittersweet," he said of the commencement. "At the same time, I'm dreading it. I don't want to leave."

David Williams made the trip from Dallas, Texas, where he moved two years ago, to attend granddaughter Holly Price's graduation.

"I have been looking forward to this since I had to go to Texas," he said. "I told Holly I would not miss it."

Principal Dean Sauls said he had enjoyed getting to know the Class of 2011 -- which included 38 honor graduates and 23 N.C. Scholars. He said 45 percent of the class will pursue a degree at a four-year college or university, 50 percent will attend a two-year or technical school, and about 5 percent will go into the military or workforce.

There was also an estimated $2.4 million in scholarships and grants awarded to the students, he pointed out, before declaring them official graduates. As he instructed them to turn their class rings around and move the tassels on their graduation caps from right to left, he offered one last piece of advice.

"Never forget what it's like to be a Rosewood Eagle," he said. "I would like for you to come back in about 20 years and watch your children walk across the stage and become a Rosewood graduate."