06/17/12 — Goldsboro High School graduates make it

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Goldsboro High School graduates make it

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 17, 2012 1:50 AM

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Goldsboro High School graduates toss their caps into the air after receiving their diplomas Friday.

Monique Shelton had tears in her eyes when Kariana Taylor started singing the national anthem -- when the 6-year-old girl standing next to her starting humming along.

But it was not pride in her country that evoked such an emotional response.

"Looking at that little girl, I thought about my granddaughter -- how far she's come since she was a little girl," Ms. Shelton said, pointing toward the middle of a group that included more than 100 graduates at the young lady she has, for more than 18 years, called "Sugar Cake."

Moments later she looked down -- wiping off her cheeks before taking a deep breath.

"So many kids from this neighborhood don't make it," Ms. Shelton said. "I'm so proud."

Members of the Goldsboro High School Class of 2012 turned their tassels in front of a raucous crowd Friday evening on the school's football field.

But the moment was special for far more people than just those teenagers who were walking across the stage.

It was a proud evening for Shontago Dawson, whose daughter, Shardae, grasped her diploma.

And even Icie Stevens, an 8-month-old who came to watch her uncle, Johnny, walk across the stage, wore a smile.

Doll Saterfield, Jaylin Hamilton, Isea Wilson, Tyler Bailey and Adrienne Brown marked the occasion with special T-shirts for Jai Alston, the young man they had come to celebrate.

"Happy birthday graduate at the same damn time," they read.

And Madalyn and Cassidy Reynell, the daughters of GHS's outgoing basketball coach, showed up with their mother to support those who have become like family during seasons past.

Many of the graduates said they felt honored to be in the presence of the many people who helped ensure they made it to graduation.

Like valedictorian Zacchia Codd, who said students needed a support system to help them reach their goals.

"As GHS students, we have heard things that would make it difficult to continue, and we heard things that made us proud to represent our Cougar pride," Zacchia said. "I wish you all the best in life."

Salutatorian Shacarla Exum echoed those sentiments -- and talked about the "journey" that saw the class go from nervous freshmen four years ago to confident future leaders of the community.

"We've made it. It has been an honor to be a part of the Class of 2012," Shacarla said. "I want to let each of you know that the bonds we have made are unbreakable and I will truly miss you all."