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Bladen Early College Celebrates First-Ever Graduation Class

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.