Agriculture and Science Early College high school students held their graduation ceremony at Buck Shoals Cabins in Hamptonville.

BY KARISSA MILLER

Forty-five Agriculture and Science Early College students celebrated a huge moment in their lives on Friday evening.

The Class of 2024 marched in to “Pomp and Circumstance” from behind a lush backdrop of trees that overlooked a creek and waterfall at Buck Shoals Cabins in Hamptonville.

Principal Todd Russo welcomed the crowd. The Class of 2024 has earned a high school diploma from an honors-level program and earned credits from Mitchell Community College courses.

Russo pointed out that some of the class entered the program during the start of the pandemic and also saw a 90 percent staffing change at the school. He invited former staff to be a part of the ceremony.

Billy Wells, the first ASEC principal who is retired, was instrumental in making the school what it is today. Russo asked him to hand out diplomas during the ceremony as Tennille Sherrill, the former school counselor, called the names of students as they walked across the stage.

Next, Russo introduced the honor graduates Kyleigh Cheek, Sydney Flewellen, Spencer Sundman, Martha Parlier and Colby Padgett.

“High school isn’t solely about grades and academics — it’s also about growth. It’s about figuring out who we are, discovering our passions and solidifying what we stand for,” Cheek said, urging students not to lose sight of their dreams.

Padgett told his classmates that procrastination led him to withdraw from a class and he received an F on his transcript, but he was still able to achieve his goals.

“I hope that all of you have found those that you can lean on in your time here and will know that no matter what happens we will be able to overcome it,” he said.

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