Speaker challenges ARC grads

ARC students line up to get their diplomas during a Sunday afternoon ceremony at James Brown Arena.

The moments before Academy of Richmond County’s graduation began Sunday, Bobbie Ivey was already grabbing for the tissues.


“I’m probably going to cry, just start boo-hooing,” said Ivey, whose daughter will attend Macon State College for nursing.

Families and friends gathered outside James Brown Arena before 1 p.m. for ARC’s ceremony – the first of the day’s four graduations.

Dwayne Johnson said graduation is a time for gratitude and reflection. He traveled from Charlotte, N.C., to watch his niece get her diploma.

Johnson brought his 6-year-old daughter, Zyonna, to show her what she should strive to become.

“It’s a very special event, and I’m very proud today,” he said.

The class of 2012’s story is not said and done, Academy of Richmond County valedictorian Daniel Pate Parham told grads.

How the graduates’ generation will be defined will not be determined when they move their tassels to the side, he said.

“It begins today as we begin to make our footprint,” Parham said.

He encouraged his class to persevere and to take control of their futures. He quoted Invictus by poet William Ernest Henley, telling the graduates “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

It’s a lesson he said teachers all along have been trying to instill.

Parham reminded the class of teachers they had – the algebra instructor who made students stand on their desks and scream that they were the best mathematicians in the world.

He talked about the late cross country coach who ran inches behind Parham on the track when he thought he couldn’t go any longer.

“He was teaching me the life skill of perseverance,” Parham said.

– Tracey McManus,
staff writer

Academy of Richmond County graduates
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