CALYPSO – Believe in yourselves.
Never stop trying.
Adapt to changes.
Members of the North Duplin Junior/Senior High School class of 2022 received that advice during the school’s 67th commencement exercise held June 1 inside the school gymnasium.
Principal Anthony Jones encouraged each graduate to take the skills they learned at the tiny, rural school and apply them to daily life wherever they go.
“How do you want to be remembered?” Jones asked. “I ask you to value your God-given talents and abilities, and always see opportunities to grow and learn. Live a life that you can be proud of filled with love, happiness and success.”
Senior Anahie Vasquez performed the song “Rise Up,” which was arranged by Andra Day. She dedicated it to the 63-member senior class.
Janessa Kaylee Smith, one of four students to graduate Summa Cum Laude, reflected on the past. She recalled the middle school years, class trips, Hurricane Matthew and the challenge of virtual learning while the world dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.
Fellow Summa Cum Laude graduate Maria Irene Rojas Rojas spoke about the future. She shared an emotional story about her mom who migrated to the United States to provide a better life for her family, and live the American dream.
“Remember that everything is possible and that there will always be good and bad days,” Rojas Rojas said. “But we have to pick ourselves up and continue fighting for our goals. Every single one of your parents has a story and has gone through a rough time to get where they are now.
“Now, it’s our turn to build a better story.”
Graduating Summa Cum Laude (with the highest distinction) were Ashley Marie Quintanilla, Maria Irene Rojas Rojas, Janessa Kaylee Smith and Jessica Kenia Smith.
Graduating Magna Cum Laude (with great distinction) were Emily Nicole Craft, Juan Jose Garcia Rodriguez, Noel Rangel and Summer Elizabeth Rose.
Graduating Cum Laude (with distinction) were Jenna Shae Grady, Timothy Erik Henderson, Jr., Logan Taylor Jones, Cristian Lopez Perez, Viviana Ruby Miranda, Maryon Juriel Rosales Bonilla, Kayla Alexis Smith and Andrew David Underhill.
Top 10 seniors were Emily Nicole Craft, Juan Jose Garcia Rodriguez, Jenna Shae Grady, Logan Taylor Jones, Cristian Lopez Perez, Noel Rangel, Maria Irene Rojas Rojas, Summer Elizabeth Rose, Janessa Kaylee Smith and Jessica Kenia Smith.