Rachel Goettert Staton had a message Saturday for Polk County Early College’s Class of 2018 – you are special.

To each of the 10 members of PCEC’s graduating class, Staton repeated that message, adding notes on why she considered each student to be so.

It brought a unique, personal touch to the graduation ceremony, held in Tryon Fine Arts Center with family and friends eagerly watching and awaiting the culmination of each graduate’s journey from elementary school to commencement.

That journey reached its destination shortly before noon as Polk County Board of Education Chairman Geoffrey M. Tennant pronounced the class as having fulfilled all requirements for graduation and issued the directive for each student to turn the tassel on his or her cap.

Giddily, they did so.

The hour-long ceremony included speeches by valedictorian Taylor McKenzie Warren and saluatorian Gordon M. Veser as well as a special address by graduate Carisa Mckaye Sellers honoring PCEC faculty member DeShannon Briscoe.

PCEC college advisor Matt Renn and Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene also addressed the graduates and crowd.

Caleb Henry Lane Blackwell
Caleb Lee Cantrell
Reagan McKinley Heatherly
James Matthew Loman
Carisa Mckaye Sellers
Mckenzie Alexis Staley
Braeden Eli Sullivan
Gordon M. Veser
Taylor McKenzie Warren
Autumn Sky Wilson