Tassels Turn at Parrott Graduation

Tassels Turn at Parrott Graduation

APA’s Class of 2019 listens to a speech during Friday's graduation ceremony.  The students are, from left, Delaney Tribula, Emily Piwowarski, and Dresden Holmes. Photo by Vicki Kennedy.

Parrott Academy graduation award winners (left to right) Hannah Steinberg, Brianne Cregan, Sybil Sides, William McPhaul, Cambria Duke, Will Connolly, Brooke Holmes, and William McPhaul.

Looking at the 64 students who made up the Class of 2019, Headmaster Bert Bright of Parrott Academy saluted their “huge accomplishments and huge hearts.”

Parrott Board of Trustees president Stuart Lindley advises graduates, “Do not settle. Do what you love.”

The school’s commencement ceremony Friday, held at the Ellis Simon Gymnasium, highlighted a senior class that had earned the highest SAT average of any group in the school’s history and earned over one million dollars in scholarships.  

The school follows the tradition of naming its two top students as valedictorian and salutatorian, but waits until the graduation ceremony to reveal their names. This year’s valedictorian was Brianne Cregan of Goldsboro, and the salutatorian was Hannah Steinberg of Greenville. Graduation speeches are given by seniors who compete for the honor by submitting essays.

This year, William McPhaul told his classmates, “You have your whole lives ahead of you, and your Parrott family behind you.” Fellow speaker Emily Piwowarski advised the seniors to “take every opportunity you are given — live without regrets.” Speakers Cambria Duke and Ben Hart reflected humorously on the tough history quizzes they’d endured and delicious cafeteria grilled cheese sandwiches they’d enjoyed during their many years at APA.

Before their big night, seniors at graduation practice line up for a class photo while Headmaster Bert Bright and teachers Staci Basden and Melissa Lambert give directions.

A number of Lenoir County students received awards at either the Senior Recognition Banquet held Thursday or at commencement. Aliza Matthews received the Sharon K. Brooks Leadership Award and the Shelia Stroud Fine Arts Award. Karmen Heath won the Ava Kendall Memorial Scholarship, while Ava Haddad received the Carol Southerland Most Improved Senior Award. Haddad’s art work won the school’s Purchase Award. Wrenn McCrae Whitfield was awarded the Alex Moll Academic Achievement Cup and shared the Lillian Parrott Spanish Cup with Will Connolly. William McPhaul received the Joseph C. Rasberry Cup for Mathematics and the Rex Smith Award.

As the rain outside ended, the Class of 2019 turned their tassels, marched out briskly to the strains of a Handel recessional, and let out a jubilant yell.  

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