Graduation begins a new journey for seniors

Johnny Hunt

Another school year draws to a close and a new group of students prepare for college.

It seems like just a few days ago it was time for Christmas break, but today marks the end of another school year. Our students have spent this week saying their farewells to teachers, friends and staff. With final exams behind them, it is a time to celebrate another successful year or milestone in their education. It is also a time to take a breath and reflect on all the hard work from the past year. For the 1,478 seniors who will graduate, it is a time to say goodbye to dear friends of the past 12 years and to look out on a new horizon called “the future”.

For our students, these 12 years seem like a lifetime. For each year, there are old friends, new friends and a new teacher who supported them through another year. I congratulate all of our graduates on their hard work as they press toward the mark of graduation. Our graduates have put the “E” in excellence. This year we have dozens of students who received numerous prestigious scholarships, including the Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship, the Park Scholarship, the Golden LEAF Scholarship and numerous veterans or military scholarships to support their college endeavors. Our students are headed off to various corners of the globe to further their education. The accolades and awards that our graduates received over the past few weeks demonstrate that they have worked hard and will graduate as well rounded citizens.

Our students have worked hard while applying ethics and standards to earning their high school degree. It is truly a time to celebrate. I salute all the parents, grandparents, neighbors, family members and everyone who supported our seniors on their path to graduation. Without that support, graduation would not be possible.

I also want to thank all of staff and administration for working diligently throughout the year to support students. Whether it was teaching students, preparing lunch for our them or making sure the classrooms were clean to help the students learn, I salute all of our staff.

Our county has recently been recognized on several occasions across the state for the improved graduation rate. Today, our graduation rate stands at 85.1 percent. That is evidence of the hard work of our educators, administrators, guidance staff, parents and the diligent work of our students.

At the end of the month, I too will transition to a new life. After 39 years in education with the system, I will retire on June 30. It has been an honor to serve the students in the Public Schools of Robeson County. I have worked with thousands of children throughout my years as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and superintendent. It is so exciting to see the transformation of the little ones into successful adults who are busy at college or working in our community.

Once again, congratulations to all of our students for their hard work and tremendous accomplishments. With the summer upon us, I hope each of our students will remember to be safe this summer while enjoying this carefree time. The summer is also a great time to catch up on some summer reading, while enjoying all the summer fun. Again, best wishes to all of our students for a great summer.