RALEIGH — When Sarah Massey, Brent Spivey, Dasia King and Emma Ruth Gardner stood before their East Wake High School classmates to lead them in turning their tassels Tuesday morning, a great roar arose from the crowd of students and family members. It was so loud, you could barely hear East Wake School of Health Sciences principal Carter Hillman declare the Class of 2013 high school graduates.
But that’s what he did, and that declaration signified a milestone moment for the 291 members of the East Wake High School Class of 2013. Here’s the lowdown on Tuesday’s graduation ceremony at the Duke Progress Center at Memorial Auditorium.
By the numbers: The largest graduating classes among the four small schools at East Wake was the School of Health Science, with 92 graduates. The smallest was the School of Integrated Technology with 46. The School of Engineering Systems graduated 69 seniors, while there were 84 graduates in the School of Arts, Education and Global Studies. East Wake seniors $3,257,625 in college scholarships. The class included 77 High Honors graduates and 86 Honor Society graduates.
Top of the class: As in past years, each small school boasted its own valedictorian. Alena Grubb was the School of Arts, Education and Global Studies valedictorian; Shayna Jones was the valedictorian of the School of Integrated Technology; Abimael Torres Rivera was valedictorian of the School of Engineering Systems; and Daniel Duttman was the School of Health Sciences valedictorian.
Showstopper: Torres Rivera provided arguably the most memorable moment at Tuesday’s commencement ceremony when he admitted that some people in the crowd, including his own mother, wouldn’t be able to understand his valedictory speech because they don’t speak English. He then proceeded to make extended remarks in Spanish, drawing a roar from the crowd and sparking tears from some graduates. School of Engineering principal Sebastian Shipp said it was one of the best valedictory speeches he’s heard in several years.
A long hard road: At least three valedictorians made note of the fact that graduating from high school meant more than 2,300 days in their public education careers. To be exact, a 13-year public school education, from kindergarten through 12th grade includes 2,340 days of school.
Props to moms: Both parents, moms and dads were publicly thanked from the stage by several speakers. Duttman was clear about his appreciation for mom’s guidance. “I did (schoolwork) that I thought didn’t matter because Mom said I should.”