LUMBERTON — The Public Schools of Robeson County Early College High School held its commencement ceremony on Friday honoring 44 graduates.
PSRC ECHS Eagles crossed the stage Friday in the A.D. Lewis Auditorium at Robeson Community College leaving behind their high school careers and soaring into their futures.
The school’s program allows students to take college courses through the school district’s partnership with Robeson Community College, and graduate with a high school diploma and college degree or transferable credits. Some students previously participated in the college’s commencement ceremony on May 10.
Prior to the ceremony, students participated in a new tradition. They each touched the eagle statue on campus before entering the auditorium ahead of the commencement ceremony to symbolize their journey and pay homage to their time at the school.
The PSRC ECHS choir performed two musical selections during the ceremony including “Soar Now, Eagles” and Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” The Pirate Battalion Color Guard conducted the Posting of the Colors and PSRC ECHS Sophomore Liliana Locklear sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Grace Pedro Rodriguez, an Advanced Senior at the school, gave the invocation and Advanced Senior Elizabeth Olan Lopez gave the student address.
Elizabeth reflected on the obstacles of learning through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a time of isolation and growth,” she said. “In spite of obstacles, we survived and did not give up.”
She also thanked the school staff and Principal Barton for their impact on her high school experience. She also spoke of her love for the school’s robotics club and time spent on the RobCo Bots team.
“Graduates, many of you walked across the stage on May 10 and received a diploma or degree from Robeson Community College, you should be proud of yourselves for you have accomplished something great,” said Melissa Singler, president of Robeson Community College.
“For those of you still working towards that goal, I want you to know we are here for you. You are already a part of our family and I want you to remain with us until you reach the finish line,” Singler said.
PSRC ECHS Principal Dr. Anthony Barton gave students words of wisdom as they transition to life after high school.
He told students to always show up, be on time, choose to be kind and treat others like they would want their loved ones treated. Doing so will help them succeed in life, he said.
“Regardless of where your path takes you when you leave here always know that you can compete and excel in whatever you choose to pursue,” Barton said. “Congratulations to the class of 2023! I pray that you can take the experiences you learned here to be the best version of yourself.”
PSRC Superintendent Dr. Freddie Williamson could be seen congratulating students along with PSRC Board of Education members and Cabinet members.
“As you walk across the stage today and into your future, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on all the hard work it took to get to this moment. Not only have you completed your high school career and earned a high school diploma, but you also have earned a college degree or transferable credits. What an accomplishment!” Williamson said in a statement.
“As you celebrate this exciting milestone, I hope you look back on your journey with pride. Be proud of the work you have done and be thankful for your parents, teachers and everyone who has supported you in this journey. I pray you will use your knowledge and lessons learned to make our workforce and our world a better place. Above all, I hope you remember that with God, all things are possible. Congratulations, class of 2023!” he added.
PSRC will hold graduation ceremonies for its remaining high schools on June 16.
Jessica Sealley is the chief communications officer at the Public Schools of Robeson County. Reach her at [email protected] or 910-733-6027.