A time to celebrate - but there are tears, too

Raleigh News & ObserverJune 9, 2014 

Thousands of Wake County high school seniors graduated over the weekend. To see more photos from the events, go to nando.com/gradpics.

Apex High School

Number of graduates: 522

Sum of scholarships awarded: $3,621,019

Valedictorian: Yuming Shi

Salutatorian: Leah Weaver

Class President: Erin Valdini

Advice from valedictorian: “Always think about managing your time wisely,” Shi said. “Don’t overload yourself with trivial things.”

Lessons learned: “The most important lesson that I’ve learned is how to relate and get along with people that are different than me and how to accept ideas and opinions that are different than my own,” Shi said.

Athens Drive High School

Number of graduates: 410

Sum of scholarships awarded: $3,407,333

Class motto: Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.

Valedictorian: Sue Shuyi Zhang

Salutatorian: Jonathan Otten

Class presidents: Kara Johnson and Sierra Schupp

Advice from valedictorian: “Reach out to others when you need help,” Zhang said. “Be determined, and keep working hard. If you give up, you will never know what you could have achieved.”

Lessons learned: “You should always manage your time well,” Zhang said. “Do things early on instead of procrastinating. Don’t overestimate the time that you have.”

Green Hope High School

Number of graduates: 502

Sum of scholarships awarded: $4,609,734

Class quote: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Henry Haskins

Senior class gift: A countdown-to-graduation clock

Valedictorian: Sonya Zhang

Salutatorian: Boning Lu

Advice from valedictorian: “Never underestimate other people, because you can learn something from everyone,” Zhang said. “It’s important to be able to listen to others.”

Lessons learned: “A lot of the everyday struggles are small stuff in comparison to the big picture,” Zhang said. “Grades are important, but they shouldn’t get in the way of doing things you want.”

Panther Creek High School

Number of graduates: 576

Sum of scholarships awarded: $5,756,303

Senior class gift: Statue of a catamount, the school mascot

Valedictorian: Andrew Yin

Salutatorian: Harrison Ballard

Class president: Rony Nasrallah

Advice from valedictorian: “Be happy. Life honestly is too short to put yourself through things that (you) aren’t going to be happy doing,” Yin said. “You only have so much time to make a difference. If you’re happy, more likely than not you’ll be successful.”

Lessons learned: “Life isn’t fair,” Yin said. “It’s about the people around you that make it interesting and fun. People around you who support you are your biggest asset, because they will never waver when life gets tough.”

 

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