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LCLA grads make a start on writing 'own story'

Graduating seniors at Lenoir County Learning Academy were urged to “write your own story” as they head into the world after commencement exercises Wednesday.

“You choose whether you are going to write your story or you’re going to allow somebody else to write your story for you,” Master Sgt. Herbert P. Gray told the eight members of the Class of 2019. “If you write it, you get all the fact correct because nobody knows you better than you know yourself.”

Holding up a blank sheet of paper, Gray, the Army JROTC instructor at Kinston High School, cautioned the seniors against letting others define their lives. “In school, if you get suspended, you give that piece of paper to somebody else to write your story. Once your story is written, it’s written; you can’t go back and change what happened yesterday. You can learn from what happened yesterday, but you cannot rewrite your story.”

Joseph Jones accept Community Support award from LCLA principal Stephanie Smith. Principal Stephanie Smith reminded the graduates they had reached a milestone – a good first paragraph in their autobiography, as it were.

“The moment you are called to the stage to receive your diploma, resplendent in your cap and gown, is a moment to savor and enjoy. It is a historical moment,” she said. “You cannot lose what now has been given to you. The achievement will be yours forever."

Commencement was held in the chapel at Kennedy Home, where LCLA shares space on the campus. Members of the Class of 2019 are Alexis Nicole Gamboa, Dykeisha Nicole Hardison, Courageous Izon Parker, Xavier Daveion Parks, Jose Luis Sierras-Carachure, Jaylen Marquise Speight, Aniyah Nycole Willi9ams and Shamichael Dajour Wilson.

Smith presented the school’s Community Support Award to karate instructor Joseph Jones, owner of Little Union Academy in Kinston, whom she described as a regular presence at the school and source of encouragement for students.

The Outstanding Behavior and Achievement Award, given annually to a student who has exhibited admirable effort during the school year, went to junior Ronald Smith. Smith and classmate Toian Tyrell served as commencement marshals.

Recognized in the Rite of Passage ceremony that moves them into high school were eighth graders Trevon Jones, Joshua Lis, Adrianna Lynch-Foster, Aquavion Keys, Braxton Smith, Layla Williams and Tabias Williams.

Vocalist Robert Hart, a staple at LCLA commencements the past several years, provided two musical selections.

Photo captions:

Above -- LCLA principal Stephanie Smith presents the Community Support award to Joseph Jones during commencement Wednesday.

Below -- Members of the Class of 2019 at Lenoir County Learning Academy pose with principal Smith before commencement Wednesday.

The eight members of the LCLA Class of 2019 pose with principal Stephanie Smith.