Blue Ridge Early College celebrates graduating Class of 2021

Blue Ridge Early College celebrated the commencement of the graduating Class of 2021 on June 6 in the school’s gym without the restrictions of masks or social distancing.

“The governor lifting the restrictions came at the best time,” said BREC Principal Brandon Pendergast. “We had originally planned to try and have graduation on the soccer field, but we just couldn’t logistically make it happen. When we moved it to the gym, originally each senior would receive 6 tickets. Luckily, Governor Cooper lifted capacity and distancing requirements and we were able to have graduation at full capacity.”

He added restrictions or not, holding a graduation ceremony is important.

“Graduation is a very important milestone for not only students, but for families as well,” said Pendergast. “It marks the culmination of 13-14 years of hard work and sacrifice. Had restrictions not been lifted, we would have had a ceremony, but I’m sure it would have looked different.”

BREC Class of 2021 graduates toss their caps in the air after officially graduating on June 6,

Friends and family packed BREC’s gym for the ceremony. The Pledge of Allegiance was read by Senior Representatives Charlotte Sherrill and Korbin Walters, followed by Pendergast welcoming those in attendance.

Student speakers included Seniors Devin Bryson, Bailee Collins, and Carsen Williams.

Devin Bryson speaks at BREC Class of 2021 graduation ceremony. Photo by Linda Potter

Bailee Collins speaks at BREC Class of 2021 graduation ceremony. Photo by Linda Potter

Carsen Williams speaks at BREC Class of 2021 graduation ceremony. Photo by Linda Potter

An emotional Moment of Reflection was delivered by English Teacher Kristy McCall.

Kristy McCall delivers an emotional Moment of Reflection as she recalls memories of each individual graduate.

The Commencement Address was delivered by Science Teacher Nick Accardo.

Nick Accardo delivers the Commencement Address at BREC Class of 2021 graduation ceremony.

Pendergast said the ceremony went well.

“I think the ceremony went very well,” he said. “Graduations at Blue Ridge are such a special and unique event. It was awesome that we were able to honor so many of the traditions, reflection speaker, giving of roses, etc., that make Blue Ridge graduations so great.”

Diplomas were awarded by Pendergast; Dr. Dana Ayers, Superintendent; Dr. Jacob Buchanan, Assistant Superintendent; Paula Kennedy, School Counselor; and Terri Walawender, Principal.

2021 Graduating 13th Year Students include Angelica Ambrocio-Garcia, Joshua Lee Ammons, Savannah Summer Cohea, Yurem Asael Corona-Villa, Abigahil Noemi Palestino, and Daniella Salinas Perez.

Junior Marshals represent the top 10% of BREC’s junior class and include Holly Foss and Gracie Watson.

From left are Junior Marshals Gracie Watson and Holly Foss at BREC Class of 2021 graduation ceremony.

Honors & Accomplishments

*Graduating students may have the following notations after their name:

  1. Top 10% of Graduating Class (wearing gold cord)
  2. N.C Academic Scholars (wearing silver cord)
  3. New Century Scholar (wearing teal and black cord)
  4. Graduating High School with an Associate Degree, Diploma, or Certificate from Southwestern Community College
  5. Early College Student (completion of college coursework through Southwestern Community College)
  6. 13th Year Student (student has elected to remain at BREC for the 2021-2022 school year to work towards completion of an Associate Degree, Diploma, or Certificate from Southwestern Community College)
  7. Senior Class Officer
  8. Student Government Association (SGA) Member
  9. Varsity Athlete
  10. Career and Technical Education (CTE) Concentrator (completed at least two courses in CTE program)
  11. Fire Academy Intern
  12. Early Graduate (December, 2020)

Blue Ridge Early College Class of 2021:

Jason Aguilera 5, 6

Collin Glen Bryson 5, 9, 10

Devin Hoyt Bryson 1, 2, 3, 5, 9

Paige Bell Bryson 5

Hannah Marie Carbonne 9

Bailee Winter Collins 1, 2. 4, 5, 7, 8, 9

Ella Mariah Day 5, 9

Ashton Trent Dean 10

Jazmin Destinee Ferrin 5, 9

Chloe Lee Fowler 5, 6, 8, 9

William Keleb Fugate 9, 10

Angela Sanchez Hernandez 5, 9

Alexis Dionicio Hervert-Mezquite 5, 6, 9

James Jacob Jacoy 9, 10

Joseph Lewis Madden 9, 10, 11

Stephen Alexander Madden 9, 10, 11

Ethan Moss 10, 12

Josh Paulino-Velazquez 2, 5, 6

Javier Paz 5, 9

Jason Salinas Perez 5, 6, 9

Madeline Elizabeth Potts 5, 6, 8, 9

Jacob Nicholas Pressler 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11

Brenda Itzel Rodriguez-Vargas 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9

Areli Romero 5, 6, 9

Charlotte Paige Sherrill 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9

Max Raymond Tavernier 10, 11

Korbin Lee Walters 5, 7, 8, 9, 10

Carsen Mitchell Williams 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9

Not pictured are graduating seniors Bridney Skyann Alvarez-Perez 12, and Braden Laurin Collins 9 who were unable to attend the ceremony.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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