Family and friends gather to celebrate Yadkin Early College’s Class of 2022 graduates at a commencement ceremony held May 13 at Union Grove Baptist Church.

The 44 graduates of Yadkin Early College in the Class of 2022 were celebrated at an commencement ceremony held Friday at Union Grove Baptist Church in Yadkinville.

The guest speaker for the ceremony was County Commissioner Kevin Austin. Austin has been a big supporter and supporter of Early College since its inception. Austin said he hopes students will consider returning to live and work in Yadkin County after pursuing higher education.

“We want you here, we need you here,” he said.

As is school tradition, the top four students addressed classmates, family, and friends, each speaking about one of the four pillars of the school’s honor code: respect, responsibility, honesty and integrity.

Olivia Pizzuti began her speech by quoting Aretha Franklin’s famous song Respect. Pizzuti has been a trainee at Surry-Yadkin Works and will soon do so by applying for her Gold Award in Girl Scouts. She plans to attend UNCW in the fall to earn a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing.

She encouraged her classmates to have personal relationships with people who respected them.

“It’s so important to surround yourself with people who really care about you,” she said.

“I love you all and I’m so proud of you,” she told her classmates. “I’m so grateful that you are the people I grew up with.”

Megan Wagoner talked about accountability. Wagoner served as the school’s representative on the Yadkin County School Board last year. She plans to pursue a career as an elementary school teacher and will attend Appalachian State University this fall.

“I remember as a freshman that five years seemed so long and so far away and sometimes impossible and unattainable, but here we are today, in the blink of an eye, we are graduating,” Wagoner said.

“Success is not possible without accepting full responsibility for your life and actions,” she told fellow graduates. “I wish you all the best of luck in this next chapter of your life.”

A member of the Lego robotics team and the quiz bowl team, Kaleb Harrison tackled the topic of honesty. He started his speech with some honesty, sharing that “like any good high school kid,” he waited until the last minute to write his speech.

“We say honesty is the best policy, but what about our interaction with ourselves. Honesty with ourselves can be harder than it first appears. is a powerful thing that requires self-awareness and courage,” he said. “The ability to be honest with yourself marks an important chapter in your life because that’s where life begins. really.”

Harrison will attend NC State in the fall to study physics.

Music club member Isaac Ponce de Leon, who will be attending UNC Chapel Hill for a degree in economics, delivered the final student speech of the ceremony.

“Don’t take your happiness for granted,” he told his fellow graduates.


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