East Wilkes Class of 2018 soars at graduation

By Kristian Russell - kussell@elkintribune.com
Valedictorian Anna Parks gives a speech on her time at East Wilkes High School during graduation Friday. - Kristian Russell | The Tribune
The East Wilkes High School diplomas are presented by Dr. Jodi Weatherman, while counselors Bethaney Hamby and Tosha Mathis present the senior class. - Kristian Russell | The Tribune

RONDA — On a dreary Friday night, the East Wilkes Cardinals celebrated the Class of 2018 with its graduation ceremony. As the rain came down outside, the spirits inside of the East Wilkes gymnasium were high. The Class of 2018 entered the gym with smiles on their faces as family and friends looked on from the stands.

The graduation ceremony consisted of a welcome by Jason Redding, an introduction of special guests by Katheryn McGuire, the East Wilkes Madrigals singing, an address by Anna Parks and Christa Burchette and closing remarks by Hunter Tharpe and Dr. Jodi Weatherman.

It was an exciting night for all involved, as the graduating Cardinals took the next step of their lives. Valedictorian Anna Parks talked about her time at East Wilkes and gave her thanks to those who helped her get to where she is today.

“Be courageous,” said Parks during her speech. “We have had an impact on each other and the school. We are the East Wilkes Cardinals class of 2018. We are the class that will not be forgotten.”

Christa Burchette urged her graduating class members to not forget where they came from and always remember East Wilkes. During the closing remarks, Tharpe expressed her hopes that her classmates leave the ceremony knowing they are “always and forever East Wilkes Cardinals.”

East Wilkes Principal Dr. Jodi Weatherman expressed how humbled and honored she was to be at graduation. She thanked all of the staff who helped put on the ceremony. During the ceremony, Weatherman asked the crowd to take a moment of silence in honor of Trooper Samuel Bullard, an East Wilkes alumnus who lost his life last month. Weatherman talked about how each choice the student will make have consequences, some good or some bad.

The class of 2018 accepted at least $1.3 million in scholarships, with more than 30 students planning to attend a four-year university, over 60 students attending community colleges, five students entering the military and seven students entering the workforce.

When the class received their diplomas, cheers filled the air and the excitement was palpable. The East Wilkes graduating class completed one step on its journey to bigger things.

At the beginning of the night, the class walked into the gym for the last time as students of East Wilkes. When the night was over, the class walked out as proud alumni who are ready to soar to new heights.

Valedictorian Anna Parks gives a speech on her time at East Wilkes High School during graduation Friday.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_DSC_0772.jpgValedictorian Anna Parks gives a speech on her time at East Wilkes High School during graduation Friday. Kristian Russell | The Tribune

The East Wilkes High School diplomas are presented by Dr. Jodi Weatherman, while counselors Bethaney Hamby and Tosha Mathis present the senior class.
https://www.elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_DSC_0783.jpgThe East Wilkes High School diplomas are presented by Dr. Jodi Weatherman, while counselors Bethaney Hamby and Tosha Mathis present the senior class. Kristian Russell | The Tribune

By Kristian Russell

kussell@elkintribune.com