05/23/13 — Student's hard work gets him back with Class of 2013

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Student's hard work gets him back with Class of 2013

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 23, 2013 1:46 PM

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Cameron Mayo, a junior at Wayne School of Engineering, will receive his diploma during ceremonies at the school Friday night.

Cameron Mayo is not one to be held back, even temporarily.

When he was in first grade, he was diagnosed with ADD, attention deficit disorder, his mother, Tina Carlson, said.

"He had a problem concentrating," she said. "It wasn't that he couldn't concentrate. He just concentrated on everything."

The school decided to hold him back a year.

Now a junior at Wayne School of Engineering, he has made up for any lost time and will graduate with the senior class Friday night.

"If he had not been held back, then 2013 would have been his original graduating date," his mother said.

The decision to catch up was actually not that long in the making. He simply did the math.

"He figured out last year on his own that he could graduate as a junior," Mrs. Carlson said. "I don't know if he consciously thought of that. He had been working hard several years to get things back on track."

To hear the 18-year-old tell it, the suggestion to pursue his high school education at the School of Engineering -- a non-traditional option introduced in Wayne County Public Schools in the fall of 2007 with a heavy concentration in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM -- came from one of his Grantham teachers.

"My seventh-grade, eighth-grade teacher, Paul Casey, he was like a shop teacher, we talked a lot about engineering and (he) told me about the School of Engineering," Cameron said. "I looked it up and I applied and got in."

He started there in ninth grade and has found it to be a good fit.

"The school is fun, but you have to actually do your work," he said. "You can't just assume that you'll pass."

The stringent schedule features all honors classes. It became even more time-consuming when he realized how close he was to finishing high school.

"They told me, you only have to have six more credits," he said.

That was junior year, prompting him to stack his class schedule in anticipation of graduating this spring.

"It wasn't always easy," he says now. "Running back from high school to (Wayne Community) college was kind of hard. I had to pace my time. Now I show up 30 minutes early for everything."

His schedule could be considered intense, even for a seasoned college student. For a high-schooler, it was beyond impressive -- starting with seated, "face-to-face" classes at the high school, Cameron juggled online courses and a mixture of college-level options.

While he has always had an aptitude for technology and engineering, along the way, he discovered other interests.

"I really like psychology. Psychology and math, but not pre-calculus -- never again," he said with a smile.

His schedule for the past year has been consumed with academics and not much free time.

Now that graduation is imminent, though, he has a sense of satisfaction.

"I feel really good," he said Wednesday. "I still don't want to walk across the stage. But it finally paid off. No more staying up until 4 o'clock doing homework."

"He didn't want to walk at graduation. He's walking because his mama's making him," echoed Mrs. Carlson, referencing what she told her son, "'You have accomplished a lot -- you're gonna walk!'"

Cameron's future plans at the moment are leaning toward military service, something that runs strong in his lineage. His father, Bobby Mayo of Mount Olive, served in the Army and his other ancestors were in other branches.

"I want to do Air Force, and I want to go into medical," he said. "I want to continue with college, either radiology or psychology."

And while the goal motivated him to graduate early, he admitted there are things he will miss about high school -- "Being able to see my friends every single day, no matter what," for one.

And the real rude awakening that comes with adulthood, losing the luxury of sleeping in.

"I was told, you won't be getting up at 10:30 -- my school starts at 10:30 -- so you won't be getting up as late as normal," he said. "My parents said look at getting up around 6:30 a.m."