More than 2,000 strong, Class of 2013 graduates

Jun. 12, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

They say it is not just the student who graduates on graduation day, but also the parents, teachers and members of the community who helped that student along the way. 

This was illustrated Tuesday as more than 2,000 Union  County seniors walked across a stage and received their high school diploma. 

Skyles Ivy watched his daughter Timaya Ivy walk across the stage at Austin Auditorium at Wingate University Tuesday morning. He said he screamed “That’s my baby” as she walked across, though admitted that he may have embarrassed her. 

Ivy said he was “proud.” 

“It felt so good,” he said. 

She plans to attend Queens University in Charlotte and she has talked about forensics since entering high school, he said. 

For Ivy, it was four years of hard work as well. 

“Waking up every morning to make sure she got there,” he said when asked how he helped. He said he would wait for her after school as well and often waited “hours” at the school. 

Ivy said he wanted her to achieve her goals. 

“It’s worth it though,” he said. “I’m smiling now.” 

Student, now alumna, Deovia Darriell Price gave the closing remarks at Monroe High School’s ceremony. 

“To our teachers, we thank you for your guidance and wisdom,” Price said, forcing back tears. “We didn’t make it this far to quit.”

Tristan Thompson, 19, felt great upon receiving his diploma and knowing he was out of high school, he said. 

He is proudest of his sports career at Monroe, where he participated in track, football and basketball. He plans to continue his football career at Livingstone College. 

Outside, students took pictures with each other, favorite teachers and their families. 

Margarita Maldonado, 18, could not find the words to describe walking across the stage. 

“It’s just unexplainable,” she said.

Though she was not nervous for most of the ceremony, when her row stood up to walk to the stage, she felt the butterflies in her stomach. 

“You just couldn’t believe it was there,” she said.

She said she felt accomplished, like she did something with herself and proved everyone wrong, she said. 

Maldonado, a new century scholar, plans to continue studying at South Piedmont Community College, then transfer to a four-year school to pursue a career in nursing. 

She will miss “being with my friends and getting out of my comfort zone,” she said when asked what she would miss the most about high school. 

Maldonado’s mother pushed her and motivated her to finish school, she said. 

Her mother, Hortencia Saldana, watched her daughter receive her diploma with pride. 

“I was so excited,” she said. “I can’t express my feelings.”

She said she pushes all four of her children to do well in school and woke up to bring Maldonado to school every day. 

“So they can become better every day,” she said. 

As tassels were turned and hats were thrown, many parents and students echoed those sentiments.