Middle College celebrates graduates

May. 16, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

The Caldwell Career Center Middle College has a different method in dealing with how its students graduate. Each one of the 43 graduating seniors is allowed to tell their families, peers, faculty members and friends one minute of his or her mind after being handed a diploma.

Mark Poarch, executive vice president of Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute, said that instead of wearing cords and sashes, students are allowed to tell their stories because every one is special.

“We don’t set one student above another,” Poarch said. “We try to have a different graduation where we’ll tell you what they did and we’ll tell you why we’re so proud of them. Everybody deserves at least that one minute to celebrate the accomplishments of that child and the time they put in over 13 years.”

The students’ stories ranged from growing up to going through changes to saying goodbye. Several had to hold back tears during the bittersweet moment when they took the podium.

Jonathan Brotherton graduated as a Caldwell, North Carolina and Presidential Scholar. He will attend Appalachian State University in the fall. He spoke about all the changes he has experienced, from the simple ones that cutting off his long hair to the big moments of growing into an adult.

“From my four years here at the Middle College, I’ve experienced so many changes throughout the lives of myself, my family, my teachers and my classmates,” Brotherton said. “Physically and mentally, I’ve evolved from the person I was freshman year, and I’m sure my fellow graduates can say the same. Even from the beginning of senior year, I have changed not only my hair style but bits of my personality, and I don’t regret any part of it.”

Brotherton’s parting advice is that you should not forget the past but that you must keep looking forward to properly prepare for the future.

Joshua Brown will attend CCC&TI in the fall for a degree in programming. Thanks to his education and his faith, Brown said his life is exceedingly rich.

“I know at this moment as I stand before you I am just beginning the rest of my life. The Middle College has helped prepare me for the next step of this dream,” Brown said.

Travis Garland attended school a year longer than his peers. After failing seventh grade, he was unsure of whether education was that important to him. However, his grandmother made a lasting impact on his life, and as she lay on her deathbed, he promised her that he would succeed and graduate with his high school diploma. He will attend CCC&TI in the fall to continue his education.

“Here I am a few years later walking on the stage and keeping the promise I made her,” Garland said. “I know she is watching over me right now, smiling with tears in her eyes.”

He glanced back at fellow classmates.

“This is definitely one of those moments where tears of joy should be showed, but that’s ok,” Garland said. “It just shows that not only me but all of us did it. Now, as we cross into the world, we are all ready for what life throws our way.”