TJCA: Largest graduating class
The largest senior class in the history of Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy was honored during a graduation ceremony Thursday evening.
Due to rain, family and friends gathered in the auditorium at the school to share in the happy moment with the 69 members of the Class of 2013.
"Tonight we will all walk across this stage, become graduates of this fine and visionary school, and make that next grand step into our lives. From here we all go and make our mark, transforming as we go, in search of ourselves," Salutatorian Hannah Saucier said in her address. "I know I speak for all of us when I say that we have varied feelings about leaving Thomas Jefferson. For sure, we are excited to graduate high school and move on to what is to be a challenging but transformative stage in our lives. But equally certain, we are also hesitant and sad to leave this community we’ve grown up in and which has shaped our foundation."
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Darrell Allison, president of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina. He spoke to the class about visionaries and leaders that have paved the way for their futures. One of the visionaries he spoke of was Joe Maimone, headmaster of the academy.
"I would like to take the time to pay tribute to the visionary leader, Joe Maimone. He was once a successful businessman in New York City and moved to Mooresboro, North Carolina to raise his family. He then used those same business skills to help build Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, where not only his children could thrive, but you 2013 graduates could thrive and excel as well," Allison said. "You have been provided one of the finest educations that our nation has to offer. Someone thought enough of you, loved you enough and understood that to have a chance in America you would need a world-class education. Those people are your beloved parents, grandparents, guardians and families."
Allison then had the graduates give a standing ovation to Maimone, school board members and their families to thank them for their support. After the round of applause, he asked the class to make a special pledge.
"Remember, you are special. You are the brightest in our state and nation. Be extraordinary when everyone around you just wants to be ordinary. Pledge to be the brightest and best leaders of today, tomorrow and years to come," Allison said.
Maimone also provided the class with some words of encouragement for their futures.
"Today class of 2013, you have proven that you each have made many wise choices that have brought you to this juncture in your young lives," Maimone said. "I love you, your teachers love you and your families love you. Now it's your turn to return that love to all you meet and to truly do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
After his remarks, Maimone honored the graduates by sharing the awards and scholarships they have received, presented the Faculty Cup to student Rosemary Richards and presented the diplomas with the help of Academic Dean Jeff Ziegler.
Once all of the graduates had walked across the stage, Valedictorian Darby Williams spoke to fellow classmates about the things she will miss about high school. She reminisced on memorable moments that the class has shared together and gave some advice.
"Every valedictorian needs a moment full of 'wise' advice from someone who’s not even eighteen yet," Williams said. "Well, the best advice that I can give is to tell you to love everyone, because you never know how far your influence will extend, or whose lives you will touch."