06/10/12 — CBA sends off successful class

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CBA sends off successful class

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 10, 2012 1:50 AM

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"Oh Jesus, my baby did it," a proud Tracy Matthews exclaimed while hugging her son Robert Antoine Burton after he graduated from Charles B. Aycock High School on Saturday.

PIKEVILLE -- Symetrice Montgomery had one word to describe her feelings Saturday morning -- happy.

"I'm ready to get it over with," said the honor graduate from Charles B. Aycock High School as she prepared to line up with her classmates. Accompanying her were younger sister, Quiana Montgomery, a sophomore at CBA, and boyfriend, Joshua Branch, who will graduate from Southern Wayne High School Tuesday evening.

At the school's entrance, seniors Imari Howell and Audrina Lynch checked out their reflections and made last-minute adjustments to their white caps and gowns.

"I'm sad. I want to cry," Imari told an approaching classmate.

She'll attend Wake Tech Community College in the fall, on a basketball scholarship, and study psychology.

"I'm happy but I'm sad," she said of the group's final event. "It doesn't feel real."

"It hasn't kicked in yet," agreed Audrina, who will attend Fayetteville State University and plans to become a pediatrician or registered nurse.

Classmates Gavin Nagel, Jessica Murphy and D.J. Mooring reflected on being in the same homeroom throughout high school.

Gavin is contemplating going into the military, while Jessica and D.J. will start out at Wayne Community College. Jessica said she wants to pursue a career in photojournalism, while D.J. is interested in welding.

The school's parking lot and bleachers on both sides of Hardy Talton Athletic Field filled up quickly in anticipation of the 242 graduates receiving their diplomas.

Joe Sealey and wife Debbie traveled from Roanoke Rapids to support William Leggett Jr., along with Shirley Pastor, Leggett's great-grandmother, who lives in Florida.

"He's the first grandson graduating," Sealey said, proudly.

They positioned themselves along the running track, providing a perfect view as graduates made their way by before passing through a triple archway of blue, yellow and white balloons at the end of the football field.

Richard and Jeanie Bedard and son Andrew were there for daughter and sister Sarah along with their pastor's son and his mother, Shane Hayes and Christa Hayes, respectively.

"(Sarah's) been in my Sunday school class for five, six years. I'm proud, very proud," said Shane, of The Lord's Vineyard. "She's only a junior, so she's graduating as a junior."

Dr. Earl Moore, CBA principal, said it had been a momentous year, from CBA being nationally ranked as one of the country's best high schools, to boasting $4.4 million in scholarships and athletically earning three state championships.

Valedictorian Ben Coley, an avid sports fan, likened the four years of high school to quarters of a basketball game.

"Now it is the home stretch, the last few minutes of the game," he said. "The memories we've shared have come into full focus and are carrying us to the end. We are now in the waning seconds and have the basketball, ready to shoot for the win, but as we go up for this final shot, let us remember that triumph does not come without a remarkable coaching staff and an outstanding support system."

Salutatorian Brantley Collins' remarks centered around the binding tie that would forever connect the Class of 2012 -- friendship.

"As we go our separate ways today, I want to remind you that all true friends are never really apart from each other. As Aristotle clearly said, 'Friendship is a single soul, dwelling in two bodies,'" he said. "So today is not a day to be sad, but rather a day to celebrate the many, many accomplishments we have achieved and enjoy our time together as truly blessed friends."