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Early College graduating 33 seniors on Wednesday

Graduation season for Lenoir County Public Schools’ Class of 2021 begins Wednesday when Lenoir County Early College High School awards diplomas to 33 seniors.

Early College commencement is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Briley Auditorium of the Waller Building on the campus of Lenoir Community College, where the high school is located.

Because Early College operates on a school calendar that aligns with that of LCC, it starts and ends the school year about three weeks ahead of the district’s traditional high schools, which are scheduled to hold commencement exercises at the end of May.

Public health restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic will limit the size of the Early College audience to two ticketed guests per graduate, but the ceremony will be live streamed on You Tube and a video will be posted for later viewing. (The live stream can be viewed at this link:

Otherwise, the commencement itself follows the traditions established since 2007 when Early College opened its doors.

“We want to keep the focus on the students,” principal Diane Heath said. “Our seniors have worked hard to achieve this milestone, this is their commencement and they should be the centerpiece of the ceremony.”

Eight members of the graduating class have roles in the commencement exercise, including three who will deliver keynote speeches. Kelsi Swinson and LeTeiacesa Lewis, student body co-presidents, will speak for the Class of 2021 and Hannah Willis will deliver the graduation address.

Also scheduled to speak are Dr. Rusty Hunt, president of LCC; Dr. Deborah Grimes, LCC’s senior vice president of instruction and student services; and LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams.

Of the 33 graduates, 24 are headed to four-year colleges, two are returning to LCC for additional certifications, two are joining the military and five are entering the workforce.

More than half of the graduating class will be recognized as graduates of distinction.

Graduating cum laude are J’Miyah Dupree, Kimberly Gonzalez, Diana Leon-Lara, LeTeiacesa Lewis, Ricardo Rodriguez, Jordan Speller and Kelsi Swinson.

Graduating magna cum laude are Heidy Alvarez-Salas, Elizabeth Gandee, Macy Humphrey, JaKarrie Miller, Kaylin Mills and Andrea Sanchez-Roman.

Graduating summa cum laude are Kurt Nguyen, Jessica Riggs, Amelia Verduzco-Medina and Hannah Willis.