06/09/13 — EWHS grads told to follow their hearts

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EWHS grads told to follow their hearts

By John Joyce
Published in News on June 9, 2013 1:50 AM


Tyesha Lucas wipes a tear from her cheek during graduation at Eastern Wayne High School Saturday

She was late to her own graduation.

Car trouble kept 17-year-old Eastern Wayne High School senior Janice Brinson from sitting at mid-field and turning her tassel with the rest of her graduating class at the school's football stadium Saturday.

She didn't get to hear her name called or walk across the stage, but was relieved nonetheless.

"I'm glad to be done with school, finally," she said.

The rest of the graduation went off without a hitch, though.

The deluge of the previous two days dampened the field at Warrior Football Stadium, but not the joy of the 220 graduates or their families.

The stands were already full on either side as the procession began at five minutes to 9 a.m., and guests continued to trickle through the gates.

Deborah Hutchins, her view obstructed by the six large balloons she held, said she couldn't be more proud of her daughter, 18-year-old B'renda Hutchins.

"She's going into the Air Force ... two-years at Mount Olive College then she'll go in as an officer," Ms. Hutchins said.

Valedictorian Grace Delbridge and salutatorian Macie Bell both addressed their fellow graduates with messages of thanks and encouraging words for the future ahead.

"No one wants to live a mediocre life," Ms. Bell said, recalling mohawks, the Harlem shake, fashion faux pas and the "oh-so-real senior project" among the highlights of high school, which doubled as the start and finish of that chapter of their lives.

"As I look back on our journey here at Eastern Wayne, I see how far we've come from the nervous freshmen trying to navigate our way around campus, to the confident and ambitious seniors we are today," she said. "And as we prepare to go out into the world as young adults we will always remember our school motto of 'Armed to Succeed ... Prepared to Lead.'"

Miss Delbridge challenged her classmates to look toward a bright future and the freedom it brings.

"I'm not talking about the same freedom we experience when the 3 o'clock bell rings, but the freedom to decide what to do with our own lives," she said.

Quoting the late Steve Jobs, credited with being "the wonderful wizard who gave the world Apple computers and more importantly, the technology that allows us to text our friends every day," she said, "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."

In addition to her classmates, she was cheered own by her father, assistant district attorney Matthew Delbridge, who had brought his parents, sister, and family members from as far away as Virginia and Charlotte to see his daughter lead her graduating class.

"Wouldn't miss it," he said with a wink.

And by the time the ceremony concluded, Miss Brinson's spirits were lifting. Though she was made to watch her own graduation, her family watched with her and talked about her prospects for the future.

"She's going to college, she will stay in school," her cousin Sierra said.

Janice had more immediate plans, though -- the likes of which where probably on the minds of many of her newly graduated classmates.

"I'm going to a party!" she said.