Knightdale High graduates 390

Monday, June 18, 2012

RALEIGH - The ceremony: 6 p.m. Friday, Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh.
Accolades: More than 390 seniors graduated from Knightdale High School. In total, the class of 2012 won more than $5.8 million in scholarships – that’s about $685,000 more than the class of 2011 which included 378 students.

Notables: According to Bryan Sumner, President of the class of 2012, this year’s class included 106 honor graduates. Of those, 16 were recognized as “Outstanding Seniors,” who, according to their teachers, demonstrated leadership, integrity, and academic excellence.

They are Sara Awad, Bernard Bellamy, Sierra Coulter, Jessica Crandell, Julian Gilyard, Bright Gyamfi, Khaled Jaouhari, Alexandra Minori, Khalid Powell, Zoe Schaper, Mia Sims, Ajee Smith, Bryan Sumner, Emily Venable, and Megan Woodlief.

Fun fact: Like the graduating class before them, these seniors will go down as champions thanks to their Track and Field team which won the 4A State Championship.

Special speaker: Jonathan Wall, a 2008 alumnus, graduated this spring from Morehouse College in Atlanta. While there, he helped open a charter school and won countless recognitions for leadership and charity.

In addressing the class of 2012, Wall noted his hometown community’s sense of pride.

“Think about it, we’re the only high school that represents a whole town,” he said.

Wall congratulated the seniors on their success and advised them – don’t stop now.

“Don’t let this be the last time your friends and family come together to celebrate the work you’ve done.”

Other quotables: Patricia Mathes, the student body president, welcomed parents, teachers, and other guests to the graduation. In offering wisdom to her fellow classmates, Mathes invoked former N.C. State University woman’s basketball coach Kay Yow.

“When life kicks you, let it kick you forward,” Mathes said.

Kristen Maiden, the school’s valedictorian, and Rami Awad, the school’s salutatorian, thanked teachers and principals on behalf of their classmates.

“Because of you ... 2012 will not be marked as the end of the world but as a year of greatness,” Awad said.

Memories: Sumner, the Class of 2012 president, reflected on how he and his peers have matured.

“Remember the days when boys and girls had cooties,” Sumner said.

My, how they’ve grown, he sighed.

“It seems like just yesterday that juice and cartoons were all we needed to make us happy,” he said.

“Now we’re worried about things like class, scholarships and trying our best to get the senior prank right.”

Sumner did not reveal the senior prank.

Perhaps it’s for the best. Now, the prank can go down as one of the last things this class shared together, with no one else.

Specht: 919-829-4826


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