Four graduating Wake County seniors ended their high school careers by thanking the teachers who had a major impact on their lives.
The four seniors, many of them dressed in their graduation caps and gowns, paid surprise visits over the past few weeks to the Wake teachers who helped them the most in their school career. Hugs and tears were freely exchanged in the video posted Thursday on YouTube by the Wake County school system.
Erika Pearsall, a senior at Crossroad Flex High School in Cary, could barely complete her emotional thank you to Stacy Goode, her fourth-grade teacher.
"You were one of the first teachers that told me that I could do anything in school," Pearsall said. "You told me not to be something that I’m not, and because of that I have grown into this beautiful woman and this beautiful basketball player.
"You told me, 'Erica don’t be scared of your height,' and you said, 'Erica, you’re really good at math,' and because of that math is my favorite subject now."
For the teachers, it was a welcome realization to see the impact they had on their former students. James Arnold, a senior at Panther Creek High School in Cary, wanted to let Maureen Kasegian, his eighth-grade teacher, know that she helped him straighten out his act in middle school.
“I’m so glad that I could help you on your journey, because you have a big bright future ahead of you," Kasegian told him.
For Nicki Walko, a senior at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh, the connection was more recent as she thanked her school counselor, Cheryl Hegarty.
"You’ve always provided a place for me to come and talk and thank you so much for coming to the good parts too, to the awards banquets and sitting with my parents," Walko said.
Hegarty and Walko assured each other that they wouldn't be forgotten.
“I do really feel like they’re my kids," Hegarty said. "They’re really special to me, and I still think about kids I had 20 years ago so they are really special, and that’s why I love doing my job.”