SHS graduation 2019

If one thing could be said about Statesville High School’s graduation ceremony, it would be that it was loud. From the congratulatory yells from friends and families, to the cheers of the students themselves, the sound of celebration dominated.

Grey skies topped the horizon Saturday morning as people stretched in a line from Mac Gray Auditorium into the parking lot. While awaiting entry into the gymnasium, their faces wore an expression of eagerness and excitement for their loved one’s cherished moment.


Following graduates taking their seats, the voice of Senior Class President Jeremiah Mott took over the room.

“Congratulations Class of 2019,” he said with a sense of triumph.

Audience members and students alike met the greeting like a mini-celebration, stalling the ceremony for a few moments.

Principal Shelia Jenkins extended welcomes to guests, and recognized students involved in various honor societies. Honorary speaker and graduate Makailah White offered a few shout-outs to people who mentored her throughout the years, and chose to tell her story of picking a college.

White said she struggled with the option of staying close to home and studying at a smaller school where she’d likely be less challenged, as opposed to attending a bigger school farther away with more demanding academics.

She quoted a bit of her mother’s advice.

“As long as you remain comfortable, you won’t grow,” she recalled her mother saying.

And White seemed to take that to heart; she chose a college four hours away from Statesville.

“Remember the discomfort that makes you crawl in your own skin will help you grow,” she said.


Each face beamed as students crossed the stage; many of their names were drowned out by affectionate outbursts of family members. Following the turning of the tassels, graduates poured out of the gym eager to explore a newfound sense of accomplishment and freedom.

Graduate Michelle Fandino called the moment overwhelming.

“(It’s) just like a new step in life,” she remarked. “You’re not a child anymore.”

As for Fandino’s next step, she said she’d be attending Mitchell Community College to study biology.

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