70 from Wayne School of Engineering prepared for future
By John Joyce
Published in News on May 26, 2013 1:50 AM
Wayne School of Engineering Principal Gary Hales smiles as he hands Akira Bryant her diploma during commencement exercises Friday night at Goldsboro High School.
Of the 70 Wayne School of Engineering students who crossed the stage in the Goldsboro High School auditorium Friday, 65 received diplomas and are going on to college. The remaining five will return to WSE for a fifth year and earn associate degrees.
"We're an absolute family, there is no doubt about that," graduating senior Cacey Lynn Hoggard said.
Had there been one, the aspiring optometrist would have been valedictorian. Her 3.9 GPA earned her entry into the National High School Honors Society and has her weighing scholarship options between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Wilmington.
"One is near the beach and seems more laid back, the other...," she said.
Fellow graduate and honors student Ronald Lee Woody Jr. is preparing to go to basic training in four weeks.
"I'm joining the National Guard and then going to N.C. A&T to study mechanical engineering."
He said that the engineering school and its ROTC program will better prepare him for the future he wants for himself than another school might have.
"This high school has more of a focus on getting us to the next level. We work more as a family, a group."
Woody also serves as a positive role model to his younger brother and has passed along the wisdom and experience he's collected over four years at WSE.
"I tell him you only get one chance at this life and that if you mess it up you never get it back," he said.
The graduation ceremony began with graduating senior Mackenzie Malhoun singing the national anthem and the school's ROTC Drill Team presenting the colors.
Principal Gary Hales and faculty members were joined by Wayne County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Taylor, but the stage belonged to the graduates.
Instead of a guest speaker, three members of the graduating class addressed their friends and classmates with heartfelt messages of thanks and positive wishes for those whose journeys will take them in different directions.
Although the final speaker, Zachary James Wells, only spent one year at WSE, he said that he was glad to have come to the school and made the connections and friendships he did.
His is a military family and he has yet to live anywhere for more than three years at a stretch. Still, his closing comments demonstrated that the education students receive at WSE is more than just academic.
In good college form, Wells closed his speech with a quote. He chose writer and philosopher Albert Camus.
"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend."