06/07/14 — Eagles ready to fly

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Eagles ready to fly

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 7, 2014 10:34 PM

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The Rosewood High School Class of 2014 celebrates its graduation Friday night. The school saw 100 seniors turn their tassels and kicked off a weekend of commencements across the county. Three schools, Charles B. Aycock, Goldsboro High and Southern Wayne, will hold their graduation ceremonies later this week.

Jamie Terpenning, clad in a purple cap and gown, approached a side door at Rosewood High School Friday evening to join her classmates meeting in the gymnasium.

"I can't believe they're leaving," said Marian Porter, moving in to hug the graduating senior.

Ms. Porter, representing Chapter 45 of the Disabled American Veterans in Goldsboro, met Jamie through the ROTC program this past year.

"I'm very proud of her. I really am," she said. "I see all my babies, they're leaving. They won't be out here when school starts again."

Jamie appeared calm but admitted she was glad to be graduating.

"It feels good," she said. "No more getting up early."

Jordan Harris, Brent Breedlove, Brendan Trinidad and John Keppler were among those awaiting the signal to line up and head out onto the softball field for the ceremony.

"It hasn't hit me," Brent said of the milestone occasion.

"It hasn't hit me, either," agreed "Big John," his acquired nickname.

All will scatter in the fall -- Jordan to Wayne Community College, Brendan to UNC-Chapel Hill, John to Wingate University and Brent to play baseball at Methodist University and study to become a physician's assistant.

Friends Lauren Merritt, Ashlynn Spell and Daniel Fail chatted and posed for group pictures as the minutes ticked down to their final stroll across the stage.

Lauren and Danielle will be attending Wayne Community, while Ashlynn said she is going to N.C. State University.

"I'm doing a year at a community college and then transfer to a four-year school," said Deziree Baker. Her major, she added, will be pre-law.

Alicia Burns will continue her studies at N.C. Wesleyan and will play softball there.

The classmates admitted the enormity of the occasion was starting to sink in.

"It hit me yesterday, but I'm really excited to start something new, start my life," Alicia said.

"It's kind of a bittersweet feeling, but I'm also excited to start a new chapter," added Deziree.

Allen Lupton was also circumspect.

"Just a lot of emotion going through my mind right now, a lot of thoughts," he said. "Kind of excited, nervous feeling."

As strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" began to waft over the crowd, Monique Sanders' family watched for her arrival.

"I graduated from here about 13 years ago," said her sister, Demetria Hill. "It feels like forever."

Nearby, holding two balloons, was Octavia Groves, a bus driver and teacher assistant at the school.

"I'm here for my students," she said.

Principal Dean Sauls reflected on the 100 students seated before him on the field.

"All for one, one for all. The class of 2014 chose this as their motto," he said of the saying attributed to "The Three Musketeers." "It's an ideal fit for the Class of 2014.

"I can tell you they have enjoyed being all for one. They have certainly lived their days here to the fullest and I'm confident they'll reach their goals in the future."

Salutatorian Hannah Brantham recalled their "string of moments" that began Aug. 6, 2001 -- as many first entered the hallways of Rosewood Elementary -- and culminated with graduation.

"I encourage you to remember the saying, 'Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny,'" she said.

Sam Spivey, valedictorian, said if a book were to be written about Rosewood, it wouldn't rely on light-heartedness and mock sincerity but would be down-to-earth and straightforward.

"Tomorrow we wake up as Rosewood High School alumni," he said. "It will be trying at first. We will feel as though we woke up from a long and tiring dream.

"Soon we will realize that the real work is ahead of us. We made it through the night, now it is time to face the bright sun. Challenges await and they will require all of the knowledge and understanding we have acquired here to conquer them."