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.”
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.
An emotional Moment of Reflection was delivered by English Teacher Kristy McCall.
The Commencement Address was delivered by Science Teacher Nick Accardo.
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.
Honors & Accomplishments
*Graduating students may have the following notations after their name:
- Top 10% of Graduating Class (wearing gold cord)
- N.C Academic Scholars (wearing silver cord)
- New Century Scholar (wearing teal and black cord)
- Graduating High School with an Associate Degree, Diploma, or Certificate from Southwestern Community College
- Early College Student (completion of college coursework through Southwestern Community College)
- 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)
- Senior Class Officer
- Student Government Association (SGA) Member
- Varsity Athlete
- Career and Technical Education (CTE) Concentrator (completed at least two courses in CTE program)
- Fire Academy Intern
- Early Graduate (December, 2020)
Blue Ridge Early College Class of 2021:
Not pictured are graduating seniors Bridney Skyann Alvarez-Perez 12, and Braden Laurin Collins 9 who were unable to attend the ceremony.