Northern High grads enter the real world

Jun. 12, 2014 @ 05:03 PM

Did graduating Thursday make Northern High School seniors part of the real world?
Or we’re they living in it all of the time.
That’s the question valedictorian Bianca Decatur posed during the school’s commencement exercise held inside Cameron Indoor Stadium on the Duke University campus.
More than 270 graduates received their diplomas during a festive ceremony marked by shout-outs from hundreds of family members and friends who came to celebrate the crowning achievement of the graduates’ high school careers.
As senior year approached, Decatur said a lot of supporters began to offer advice, and warnings about the real world that lies ahead.
“They said, ‘Next year, you’ll be in the real world, and it’s crazy out there,’ ” Decatur said. “But next year turned into next month and next month turned into today. This is it. We’re standing on the border of who we are.”
Decatur wondered at what moment the real world would begin for graduating seniors.
“Does it begin after we turn our tassels, once the summer ends or on the first day of college or a new job?” Decatur asked. “How will we know once we’re in the real world?”
Decatur said she suspects the graduates have been living in the real world all along.
“Who’s to say that our real world lives haven’t already begun,” Decatur said. “If you ask me we’ve been in it all along, balancing school, part-time jobs and a social life while all along trying to get enough sleep each night.”
Decatur challenged fellow graduates to spend the summer making fun memories.
“Don’t worry about 7:30 (a.m.) anymore,” Decatur advised. “Fill the next two months with music too loud, nights out too late and lazy mornings spent sleeping in.”
Mercy Mensah, student body president, said she and fellow Northern Knights have been well prepared to tackle the challenges ahead.
“When I think of Northern High Schools Class of 2014, I think of entrepreneurs, artists, doctors, artists, musicians, teachers, leaders,” Mensah said. “I think of people who are able to do anything they set their minds to.”
Tequan Desean Holman, senior class president, noted that the graduating class received more than $7 million in scholarships.
He predicted that he and his classmates will all become great leaders.
“That’s all because of the solid foundation that NHS has laid for us,” Holman said.
After the graduation ceremony, Ella Berry, 18, said that she is excited about attending UNC Charlotte in the fall for pre-nursing studies.
“I’m excited about being in a new place,” Berry said.
Lexa Oakeson, 18, is heading to the University of Michigan but is undecided about a major.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Oakeson said. “There’s a lot going on, graduating from high school and getting ready to move so far from home.”