05/25/12 — Wayne Early/Middle College seniors turn tassels

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Wayne Early/Middle College seniors turn tassels

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 25, 2012 1:46 PM

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Ethan McCoy Hill, center, and his fellow classmates celebrate by turning their tassels during Wayne Early/Middle College High School commencement Thursday.

Wayne Early/Middle College High School graduates are a family whose members took the road less traveled in their journey through high school, student speakers said during the school's Thursday evening graduation ceremonies held at Wayne Community College.

Three students received their high school diplomas and associate degrees in arts and science; one received a high school diploma and associate in science degree; 33 earned high school diplomas and their associate in arts degree; and 29 received high school diplomas.

Another 13 were fifth-year students who will return in the fall to complete their college studies.

In her closing remarks, senior Whitney Frederick quoted Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken."

"Four years ago I came to a fork in the road," she said. "I was an eighth-grade student and I had been granted an opportunity to attend Wayne Early/Middle.

"I could take the traditional route to high school that the majority of my friends would be taking. Or I could take the road less traveled. I decided to be bold.o make a decision that I was well-aware would change my life."

She told her classmates that the time has come to make a new path.

"Don't be afraid to take the road less traveled because it is that road that brought us here today," she said.

Keynote speaker Alex Breindel offered a set of tools for his classmates to use to deal with life -- most of which centered on setting priorities and goals for their lives.

"You can't control what happens to you in life, but you can control how you respond to the things in your life," he said.

Nickolas Cassady of the Pikeville area was one of the fifth-year students who will return in the fall.

"I am currently working on one (college degree) in game design," said Cassady, who will graduate next May. "At about the time I am finishing up my game design degree, I am going for one in network technology. (That fifth year) is another free year of college."

Cassady said he had been attracted to the program because of the smaller class sizes and free college books and tuition.

"I had no idea going into this what it would be," he said. "My mom told me about it and got me the application."

Cindy Cassady said she learned of the program through her son's guidance counselor at Norwayne Middle School.

She said her son has matured a lot since attending the school.

"It is awesome. I love it," she said. "I think it is the best thing that could have been for him. I am very proud and emotional. The hardest thing for me to get used to was his freedom here at the college and high school -- not knowing where he was all of the time. He had a lot more responsibility to take his college courses and keep up with them and his high school courses."

Kia Chapman of Goldsboro, who received her high school diploma, found out about the program while a student at Dillard Middle School.

"My four years, they were amazing," she said. "It is good to be able to meet new people and create new memories and take them with you on your journey."

Ms. Chapman said she and her friends at other high schools talked about their respective classes.

"Mine were definitely harder," she said. "Our school, we had to do a lot of work, stay up late at night. I am going to get my associate degree in art in the summer then transfer in August to UNC-Greensboro."

Ms. Chapman said she and family and friends were headed to Sumo's to celebrate.

"They have my cake all ready," she said.