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Bladen Early College Celebrates First-Ever Graduating Class

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Elizabethtown, N.C— Friends and family gathered on Friday, June 3, 2022, for a historic occasion
as forty seniors became the first-ever graduating class from Bladen Early College High School.

Their ceremony was full of pomp and circumstance and featured several students from the Class of 2022—Serenity Flakes offered an invocation; Jeffrey Singletary Jr. led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and Alexandria Blanks sang a beautiful rendition of our national anthem. The evening included several speakers—Student Council President Nadiya Virden, Salutatorian Cynthia Maldonado Ortiz, Superintendent Dr. Jason Atkinson, Mr. Rodney Smith who served as the principal at Bladen Early College High School for three years and Valedictorian Faith Graham. Current Early College Principal Mrs. Haley Cheshire led the class in the “turning of the tassels”.

Valedictorian Faith Graham congratulated her classmates with inspiring words—“Make the most of your lives and always remember you made history tonight.” Congratulations to the first-ever
graduating class from Bladen Early College—

Lashonda Alford
Kassie Nicole Bagwell
Kaylee Breanna Bagwell
Yasmine Renee Benson
Alexandria LaFaye Blanks
Aliana Brooke Bordeaux
Ishmael Bush-Morgan
Connie Breanna Carroll
Daliyah Monique Carroway
Kiarree Shyanne Corbett
Alejandro Cruz Rodriguez
Emma Rena Elliott
Serenity Viola Mone Flakes
Faith Jocelyn Graham
Wa’keen Sema’J Graham
Destiny Michelle Gregg
Diego Yoel Inestroza Lara
Amber Jean Knighten
Tyler Gordon Lewis
Cynthia Maldonado Ortiz
Donald Preston McAllister
Myesha Lacandias McKoy
Tangela Latrice Melvin
Charlene Mota-Huerta
Ashley Orellana Leon
Cheyenne Grace Pendry
Destiny Nicole Robinson
Ashlyn Rose Ronzio
Ashani Serenity Rozier

Nadia Noel Russ
Hayden Keith Sasser
Kara Danielle Shepherd
Isaac Bayard Monroe Singletary
Jeffrey Lynn Singletary Jr.
Jay Jose Smith
Shelby Renee’ Tatum
Kayla Marie Todd
Jamya Syntana Tolson
Mayra Belen Vazquez Olarte
Nadiya Nakoma Virden

As speakers shared words of encouragement, inspiration and congratulations it was easy to pick up on a common thread—that this evening was historic and the seniors, their families and educators should be incredibly proud of all this class accomplished over the past four years. As Rodney Smith shared, “I want to thank the parents who had the foresight to send their child to a brand-new school, a school unlike any other in the district.” The Early College opened its doors in 2017 to provide a unique and challenging educational experience for Bladen County students. Four years later as the Class of 2022 graduates, the school has accomplished just that. The majority of the graduates have not only earned their high school diploma but have also graduated from Bladen Community College with an associate’s degree or completed a certificate program ready to take on the workforce, enter the armed forces or continue their education at a university or college.

As Dr. Jason Atkinson, superintendent remarked, “While today marks the end of your high school
journey, it is a new beginning for all of you. Stay focused on your future, hold on to your faith, follow your dreams and know that nothing is impossible for you. Again, congratulations to the Class of 2022.”

Graduation ceremonies for Bladen County Schools continue on Friday, June 10 with East Bladen
High School’s graduation at 10 a.m. and West Bladen High School’s graduation at 3 p.m.