Northwest Observer / Onward and Upward 2021

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ONWARD and UPWARD Class of 2021 a tribute to high school seniors in northwest/northern Guilford County

WHAT’S INSIDE Meet Annie Badger, Northern student body president ...6 Meet Ashley Cox, NWHS student body president .............7 Meet Collin Register, Northern senior class president .....8 Meet Rycor Coon, NWHS senior class president ..............9 Northern valedictorian: Sophia Strugnell ........................10 NWHS valedictorian: Caroline Howard ............................ 11 Northern salutatorian: Aimee Pack ..................................12 NWHS salutatorian: Matthew Oh .......................................13 Senior Survey: COVID challenges, takeaways ...............14 Northwest Guilford: Photos from June 7 graduation .....18 Northwest Guilford graduate list .......................................19 Northern Guilford: Photos from June 7 graduation .......24 Northern Guilford graduate list .........................................26

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One of the obvious questions I they lost, they gained much. wanted to ask recent high school Over and over again they told us graduates was, “what were the bigthey had learned about resiliency. gest challenges of your senior year?” Accountability. Responsibility. Time Their answers were much what I management. The value of famexpected – time away from friends, ily and friends. Self-discipline. And no or very limited social activities, a greater comfort level with being topsy-turvy sports seasons, alone (although a little can uncertainty, the need to go a long way, especially develop self-motivation for teenagers). and self-discipline, and the To the Class of 2021, loss of so much anticipated I know this past year was excitement that normally unprecedented, and we comes with being a senior. are particularly proud of But what I also wanted your resilience and accepto know is if they had some tance of what couldn’t Patti Stokes positive takeaways from be controlled. You’re now publisher/editor this year, which was so very equipped with not only a different than what they envisioned high school education, but with life when they began high school four lessons that, should you embrace years ago. And you know what? them, will serve you well long into Based on their answers, for all that the future.

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Northern Guilford Student Body PRESIDENT

(L-R) Annie Badger, her mother, Jenny, and her younger brother, Henry. Badger said spending more quality time with family was an unexpected benefit of COVID.

NHS president wishes for ‘normal, mask-less’ school year After remote learning this past year, Annie Badger said she and her Northern Guilford High School classmates look forward to return of traditional activities

in person for the final weeks of the school year,” Badger said. “That’s a really good sign for the fall.” The 17-year-old from Summerfield served as Northern’s student body president as a junior. She’s serving in the same position as a senior, giving her back-to-back experience spanning the COVID-19 pandemic.

by CHRIS BURRITT NORTHERN GUILFORD – Annie Badger is hoping for “a normal, maskless senior year” starting in August for herself and her classmates at Northern Guilford High School.

“There isn’t a reason for us not to be in person, especially since we were

This past year, traditional activities such as Homecoming Week in the fall and prom in the spring gave way to activities such as a virtual Spirit Week. A canned food drive replaced the Powder Puff football game between juniors and seniors. In the coming school year, Badger

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hopes to make up for some of the past year’s losses. As an example, she’s proposing dress-up theme days each Friday during the football season, versus limiting the activity to Spirit Week. She figures that just as students adapted to COVID-19’s restrictions, they can be equally creative now that the pandemic is fading. The outbreak “showed our resilience,” Badger said in a recent interview. “We stayed together as Northern Guilford High School and showed that we can do things no matter the circumstances. We’ve all grown so much from it.” Badger and her younger brother, Henry, studied remotely from home most of the school year. Their mother, Jenny, worked from home, straining the family’s internet connection until they installed a Wi-Fi booster. The technical inconvenience was small compared to one of the unexpected benefits of cocooning at home, according to Badger.

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“The biggest benefit for me was spending quality time with my family,” she said. “We usually don’t get to do that because our lives are so busy. We had family dinners and watched TV together. I really appreciated that about COVID.”

ONWARD and UPWARD

Even so, Badger said she welcomed the return to in-person classes late in the school year.

“I’m a very social person,” she said. “It was really good to see people I hadn’t seen since the beginning of COVID.” Badger said in-person classroom instruction helped her focus in advance of exams. “Paying attention was 110 percent better in person,” she said. “At home, it was so easy to go on your phone or watch the lawn mower guy mowing the yard,” she said. “You don’t have those little distractions at school.” Remote learning forced students and their families to “learn a whole new sphere of things” about technology, Badger said. Jokingly, she worried that the new knowledge will come back to haunt students next year when snowy, icy weather would typically cancel classes. “I’m afraid we’ll never have snow days again,” she said. “They’re going to say, ‘it’s a virtual learning day.’ There needs to be a rule where they give us the day off.”


NWHS Student Body PRESIDENT

NWHS president ‘enjoyed the time we had together’ Ashley Cox said the pandemic taught her to plan for the unexpected and cherish the limited opportunities students were able to get together by CHRIS BURRITT NW GUILFORD – As president of the student body, Ashley Cox had looked forward to speaking at Northwest Guilford High School’s graduation ceremony.

But like so many traditions derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony at the Greensboro Coliseum’s Special Events Center required that limitations be placed on the number of people on stage. Cox wasn’t one of them. “I was a little disappointed,” the 17-year-old from Stokesdale said. Nonetheless, if the past year taught her anything, it was to cherish the times she and her classmates could get together as a group. The picnic for seniors and graduation ceremony June 7 was the last time.

“Even though the circumstances were hard, we enjoyed the time we had together – even if it was just online,” Cox said in a recent interview. Students attended classes remotely from home until late in the school year, and the homecoming dance last fall and the prom this spring were cancelled. As a result, Cox said she and other student leaders “came up with creative ideas” for ways students could connect. Football season was delayed until the spring semester and students participated in Spirit Week activities online. As an example, students submitted photos of themselves dressed in their favorite college attire. Posted on Instagram, the photos were entered for a chance to win gift cards, Cox said. NWHS leaders organized two work days, one in the fall and one in the spring, which gave students a chance to get together to paint and spruce up the campus.

“It was hard, but we were still able to get things done,” Cox said.

Over the past year, Cox said she’s relied on Zoom for school meetings and Facetime for playing games with classmates. In recent months, the eased restrictions have allowed students to gather more for social activities, partly making up for the cancelation of the prom, she said. Cox ran on NWHS’ cross-country team, giving her another opportunity to socialize with classmates. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the number of runners allowed to complete in meets was limited, but all

Courtesy photo

Ashley Cox proudly poses with her diploma and a certificate of appreciation for her service as student body ... continued on p. 29 president after finishing a challenging senior year.

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Northern Guilford SENIOR CLASS PRESIDENT

Lessons learned For Northern Guilford High School’s senior class president, studying remotely was boring, but taught him independence and discipline for college by CHRIS BURRITT NW GREENSBORO – As president of Northern Guilford High School’s senior class, Collin Register never figured to spend most of his final year at home, studying remotely and snacking on pretzels to blunt the boredom.

“It was definitely rough,” the 18-year-old said in a recent interview.

“I didn’t want to do online school anymore. I needed to see my friends again.”

Photo courtesy of Collin Register

This summer, Register is working at a community pool and taking two vacations with his family before departing for UNC-Chapel Hill in August.

Northern Guilford High School senior class president Collin Register (left) stands with his sister, Claire, after the school’s graduation ceremony earlier this month. Collin is headed to UNC-Chapel Hill; Claire is a rising senior at N.C. State University.

Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has waned, the university conducted orientation for freshmen remotely earlier this month. Register said he’s been assigned a dorm and a roommate, and he’s taking with him some lessons he learned over the past year. Being isolated at home, he said, taught him independence and discipline that he believes will help him in college. “I think I learned a lot about time

management and being able to get school work out of the way,” he said. “Then I’d have the rest of the day to enjoy myself with family and friends. It was good preparation for me.”

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But it wasn’t how Register and other seniors had hoped to spend their final year, deprived of homecoming, fall football games and other traditions as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools for most of the academic year and limited public gatherings after classes resumed.

When in-person instruction resumed in February, Register was eager to return to the classroom, even though his drive to Northern Guilford High School was no longer convenient. His family had moved from Summerfield to Gibsonville in eastern Guilford County, nearly half an hour away from the school.

“It’s been quite a ride,” Register said. “There was a lot of not knowing what was going to happen. I was always at home, sitting. I would eat snacks all day.” Early in the school year, Register helped organize two activities – the painting of the big rock in front of the high school and the painting of signs for

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ONWARD and UPWARD

Otherwise, opportunities to organize student events were limited by the pandemic, he said.

“The drive was worth it,” Register said. As much as he had missed his friends, he also realized his education had suffered.

“I learned better just being able to collaborate with the people around me,” he said. “It was much more interactive.”


NWHS Senior Class PRESIDENT

A fist-bumping farewell At NWHS’ graduation ceremony, senior class president sits at the end of the row so he can bump fists with classmates passing by after receiving their diplomas by CHRIS BURRITT NW GREENSBORO – In a few weeks, Northwest Guilford High School senior class president Rycor Coon is headed to Provo, Utah, to start his freshman year at Brigham Young University. A year from now, he will be preparing to embark on a Mormon missionary trip somewhere in the world, though he’s

not sure where. So to make sure he bid farewell to his classmates, Coon secured an end seat during NWHS’ graduation ceremony. He bumped fists with them as they passed with their diplomas.

Photo courtesy of Rycor Coon

“This summer, I want to NWHS senior class president Rycor Coon make sure I spend time with (left) and classmate Hana Ishige celebrate my friends,” Coon said in a after their graduation ceremony. recent interview. “I’m going to be pretty far away. I know I won’t be ing remotely, walking around his house able to see them much after that.” listening to class on wireless headphones. Coon has lived all of his 18 years in Oak Ridge, attending kindergarten at Oak Ridge Elementary before going to Northwest Guilford middle and high schools. He had never imagined spending most of his senior year study-

“With everything changing so much, I learned to expect everything and nothing at the same time,” Coon said. The COVID-19 pandemic “created some bad situations, but it helped

us to grow and improve so much.” Near the end of the school year students, with the help of parents, planned private parties to replace prom, one of numerous senior traditions derailed by the pandemic. “Students came together and said ‘we can have our own prom,’” he said. “We had the willingness to do things for ourselves.” Last week Coon was among the first to receive his diploma during the graduation ceremony at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center. When he returned to his seat, he convinced his friend, Cameron Copenhaver, to switch seats with him. That put Coon right next to the aisle. “I knew that if I were on the outside, every student would walk past me and I could give them all fist bumps,” he said. Coon had been eager to return to the classroom in March.

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Congratulations to the Class of 2021! Job well done! ONWARD and UPWARD

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Northern Guilford VALEDICTORIAN

Sophia Strugnell by PATTI STOKES Sophia Strugnell applied the same discipline and commitment to her high school coursework as she has to excelling at tennis – and it Sophia Strugnell paid off. She graduated June 7 at the academic top of her class, with a GPA (grade-point average) of 4.76, and will play tennis at the collegiate level this fall. In a recent interview, Strugnell said being class valedictorian was never a goal of hers, but “it just kind of happened” because she wanted to take the highest-level classes she could in high school and do the best she could. “My main motivator was, if I could do something more challenging, I didn’t want to shy away from it,” she said. As a competitive tennis player with the USTA (U.S. Tennis Association), Strugnell said she missed a lot of school to travel to tournaments. “I’m pretty sure that in my freshman and sophomore years I had a total of 30 absences,” she said. “That

taught me a lot about time management… most of the tennis players I compete with do school totally online (even before COVID), because the schedule can be hard to manage. We practice four hours a day, so it just gets to be a lot.” Mindset is as important to succeeding in school as it is in tennis, Strugnell observed.

“Once you get to a certain level, the difference between the person who beats you and the person you beat oftentimes is more mental than anything else – it’s about your mindset, how dedicated you are, and how much you really want it. I think that definitely carried over to school. “Probably my competitive side did, too,” she added with a laugh. Tennis has been part of her life since early childhood, but she said it became more of “her sport” around seventh grade.

Her dad also enjoys tennis and encouraged her to work at it. For the last few years, she’s been playing year-round and frequently travels for tournaments. This August she’ll play in San Diego in the biggest tournament of the year.

“For my age group, if you win the tournament, you get a wild card into the U.S. Open. So, this is a pretty big deal,” she said. Last year, when she was traveling far from home and being scouted by college coaches, she felt the pressure and said she started breaking out in hives before matches. “But I’ve definitely gotten over that,” she said. “I think having the balance of knowing that all my eggs are not just in tennis really helped. When success in one place in your life becomes everything, it’s hard to handle failure.” The mental aspect of tennis can both create pressure and be appealing at the same time, she said. “You are out there all alone and you’re the only one to take responsibility for what happens,” she notes. “The other thing about tennis that’s a huge part of the game is that there is no time limit – so, no matter how far down you are, you can always come back – or no matter how far up you are, you can always lose.” The longest match she’s ever played lasted well over three hours.

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“That was in May, it was hot, and it seemed to last forever. I was just like, ‘oh my gosh, I really just left everything on the court,’” she said. Strugnell credits her mother, who she said had many interests growing up, though none were sports-related, with being a “huge supporter.”

ONWARD and UPWARD

“When I started playing tennis, she never said, ‘This is too much.’ She was always like, ‘OK, we’re going to do as much as we can,’ and that definitely carried over to school,” Strugnell said. “She didn’t let me forget about school. I knew I had to get things done because I had no choice.” To allow her to leave school early for tennis practice, Strugnell took a few classes each year online. So, when classes changed last spring to being 100% online, she said it wasn’t as much of a shock for her as it was for some students.

“I will say, though, there was a time last year I was struggling on the courts, because I didn’t have that other outlet (attending school in-person) or that change of scenery. I realized then how important it was to have a balance,” she said. It was the social part of school that she missed the most, she said – and seeing people smile in the grocery store, or giving someone a hug when she said goodbye. While she is strong in math, Strugnell said she’s interested in many topics. “I took AP Art History and really enjoyed that, which makes me really excited to think about living in New York City (she’ll be attending Columbia University this fall).” She’s not sure what she’ll major in, but says she’s leaning toward economics. “But I also know a lot can change, so to say I know exactly what I want to do is probably a little naive.”


Northwest Guilford VALEDICTORIAN

Caroline Howard by PATTI STOKES In her graduation speech, Northwest High School valedictorian Caroline Howard spoke of how she and her classmates adapted to Caroline Howard unpredictable circumstances spawned by the pandemic. By working together to get through a year of high school that looked very different from the one they envisioned as freshmen, she said the Class of 2021 came out of it with resilience, strength and the ability to change perspectives to make the best of situations.

Graduating at the academic top of her class of 482 members, with a 4.81 GPA (grade-point average), Howard credits her parents for always emphasizing the importance of working hard, but also taking classes she enjoyed while challenging herself. “I’ve definitely tried to do that in high school, where I’ve had a lot more flexibility in choosing my classes, but even in earlier grades I was very passionate about learning and reading to soak up as much material as possible in all different types of subjects,” Howard said in a recent interview. She admitted to probably caring “a little too much” about her grades in her earlier years of high school, before recognizing that “grades aren’t everything, and class rank isn’t everything.”

Make no mistake, though, her discipline and commitment to her coursework were reflected in her academic success. While she pushed herself to work hard, she also said she had a lot of fun, enjoys learning, and has had good friends and family to support her along the way Of being class valedictorian, Howard said it wasn’t a goal of hers when entering high school – but it was definitely a nice bonus.

“I wanted to work hard and being near the top of my class was perhaps a goal, but not necessarily No. 1,” she said. “There are a lot of very hard-working, smart people in my grade who are also very deserving.” Besides focusing on academics, Howard said she participated in a

lot of extracurricular activities in high school, including volunteering with Kids First, a mentoring program in which she tutored elementary-age children from a nearby school. “A lot are from low-income families and speak Spanish as a first language,” she said. “That’s been very rewarding to see their growth and has taught me about what I want to do in my life in terms of addressing social inequities and trying to work with kids as well, hopefully in the medical field.” Soccer has been a part of Howard’s life since she started playing in second grade, and she played on Northwest’s girls soccer team. “I love my soccer community,” she said. “On a soccer team, you all win together and lose together, so that’s been very rewarding in terms of building a friend group and also learning about teamwork and connecting.” In her downtime, Howard enjoys

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Northern Guilford SALUTATORIAN

Aimee Pack by PATTI STOKES Throughout high school, Aimee Pack said she wasn’t too focused on her GPA or class rank. “When I got to high school and found out I could take AP classes and get college credit I was like, ‘Okay, I definitely want to take as many as posAimee Pack sible…’ I was just ready for the challenge of taking harder classes,” Pack said in a recent interview. In fact, Pack took so many Advanced Placement (college-level) courses that she graduated with two years’ worth of college credits and academically ranked second in her class. She said she had her most rigorous course load and some of her most challenging classes in her junior year. She credits three teachers especially – Mrs. Myers (AP Calculus), Dr. Strubringer (AP Chemistry) and Dr. Branyon (AP English) – for making those classes “very interesting and easy.” She also credits her guidance counselor, Mrs. Deaton, for “helping me throughout high school.” For Pack, the hardest part about COVID was being “stuck at home all day.” “I would get my work done, close my computer and feel like, ‘Ugh, I didn’t even leave home all day or interact with others,’” she said. When she had the option of returning to the classroom for in-person instruction in early March,

Pack said she tried it for a few weeks but ended up going back home, where she felt more productive – and, the puppy her family had gotten during quarantine was a great companion. A lot of her friends didn’t return to the classroom either.

“It was a little sad, because what I had known school to be, it wasn’t like that at all,” she said. As a freshman, she said she had looked up to the seniors and couldn’t wait to be one herself – “but no one was looking up to us this year because we weren’t even there. I tried to make the most of it, but there were also times when I would get sad.” One of those times was during volleyball season. “It was supposed to be such a great season, but we had very few spectators,” said Pack, who was varsity captain of her volleyball team in her junior and senior years. “It was just hard because we didn’t have many fans, and I could only have two family members come to the games.” Still, earning varsity MVP this year was a bright spot, and she treasures the fun she had playing the sport as well as the friendships with her teammates. Pack was a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club, and Spanish Honor Society. In previous years she also enjoyed volunteering with elementary students through the Reading Buddies program, but COVID prevented that this year.

Of the lessons she learned from the challenges surrounding COVID, Pack said, “There were times this year when I thought, ‘This stinks,’ – but that was one of the lessons of all this, to grind through things in the face of adversity. And, when you don’t see your friends or close family members for a while, it makes you value them more.” This summer she’s helping care for her 10-yearold brother while preparing to head to UNC-Chapel Hill in August. She has a family full of basketball lovers, and she’s looking forward to attending basketball games and other college sporting events. She hasn’t decided yet what career she’ll pursue, but she’s sure it will be something in the science and/ or medical field. Pack didn’t get to address her classmates at the graduation ceremony as salutatorians traditionally do, but if she had, here’s something she would have said: “Thank you all for making the last four years unforgettable. The friendships and memories that we formed will last a lifetime. We endured great adversity this past year, but it prepared us all for what lies ahead. I am extremely excited to see the accomplishments our group of students achieves in the upcoming years. For the opportunity to be a part of our amazing Nighthawk community, I am incredibly grateful.”

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ONWARD and UPWARD


Northwest Guilford SALUTATORIAN

Matthew Oh by PATTI STOKES Matthew Oh got many of his required classes out of the way in his first two years of high school, then focused on taking AP classes; most were in math and science, which is where he excels. “I felt I had a good handle on those just from the class Matthew Oh lectures and discussion, so I didn’t have to spend too much time studying for them outside of class,” he said in a recent interview. AP World History was a bit different, he said, probably for two reasons – it required a lot of memorizing, and test questions were essay-based, so not as clear-cut as with his science and math exams. Still, Oh managed just fine and graduated as class salutatorian with a 4.81 GPA (grade-point aver-

age), only .01 grade point behind the class valedictorian.

Graduating at the top of his class crossed his mind in his first few years of high school, but Oh said as time went by he realized this: “If you focus too much on your placement in the class, it’s a pretty bad influence on your experience, so I just focused on being happy and getting into a good college as my main goal instead of being at the top of the class.” He participated in several high school clubs, including Science Olympiad, Environmental Club, Math Club – and Speech and Debate Team. He said he took Speech and Debate in his sophomore year

because during middle school he had been very shy about public speaking and he wanted to improve in that area. And it worked. “I really fell in love with the (Speech and Debate) community and club activities, and will definitely miss that,” he said. Of some of the teachers Oh most enjoyed learning from, his 10th grade English teacher, Sarah Hutchinson, stands out. “It (Hutchinson’s class) was a very open and welcoming community and we had a lot of discussions. I think that’s the only class I’ve ever felt where whatever you said would be acceptable… I kind of played devil’s advocate a lot in our discussions,” Oh said. “No matter how radical the ideas I threw out in that class, Ms. Hutchinson would take it in stride and it was a very good experience.”

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Central Baptist Church

Congratulates our 2021 Graduates on a Job Well Done

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Congrats,

Academy Kenneth Gay, III NC Central,Weaver Fall 2021, Jazz Studies

Congratulations, son! What an amazing 17 years it has been and how quickly they have passed! We’ve seen you grow over the years into a kind and talented young man. We knew from the beginning that God laid His hands on you and never let go. It is our sincere hope that you will stay connected to the source of your strength, you will seize each day, and will always savor the journey. Never forget where you came from or those who loved and helped you along the way. Work hard, stay humble, and your gift will make room for you. May God bless you with many years to come, filled with peace, joy, love, health, and success! Love, Mom & Dad

COVID challenges and takeaways compiled by ANNETTE JOYCE and PATTI STOKES The Class of 2021 endured a high school year unlike any other. For months, they had to deal with the ups and downs of virtual learning. Extracurricular activities were cancelled, postponed or held with restrictions. Football, wrestling and other sports were played much later in the year and many sports seasons were cut short and played with a limited number of fans. A few months before the school year ended, students were given the option of returning to the classroom on a limited basis. Some chose to finish their classes online while others were excited to get back to in-person instruction, if only for a short time. We asked Northwest and Northern Guilford graduates to share some of their biggest challenges and takeaways from their senior year, and here’s what they had to say...

CELEBRATES THE

CLASS OF 2021! LIF

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E SAFETY

“The most difficult part of my senior year was not having face-to-face interaction with teachers and fellow students. I missed the conversations, laughter, and being able to say goodbye to all the teachers, guidance counselor, and friends who supported me throughout high school. “(During the past year) I learned of the resilience of the NWHS community. As students, we adjusted to virtual learning, sports with face masks, and fundraising while being socially distanced. Our teachers were supportive and persevered in spite of Microsoft Teams and internet connectivity issues, and the PTSO managed to still hold activities throughout the year to make the seniors feel special. “The biggest highlight (of this year) was being able to play field hockey

ONWARD and UPWARD

for NWHS. Being with my friends and playing games was the first time in a while that things felt normal.” Sydney Grigg, NWHS “The hardest part of this last year of school was not attending class in person, and not having anyone to hold me accountable for my work. The one thing I did learn was to hold myself accountable.” Lucie Zerfoss, Northern Guilford “The biggest struggle this last year was COVID-19, and contracting the virus. It really was a struggle, and I’ve had breathing problems ever since. It also threw me off mentally – but I’m getting better, and I’m graduating!” Jonah Yonaitis, Northern Guilford “The most difficult part of my senior year was trying to stay fully engaged in class. Basically, during class I was working my detailing business, The Polishing Crew. I would put in my AirPods, just listen, and then did my school work when I went home. “I learned from this past year not to rush to be an adult. Working all my years of high school, I realized that the people around you are only there for a limited time. “My biggest highlight of senior year was hanging with ‘my boys,’ who I’m proud to say are my best friends and will be my roommates at UNCCharlotte. We always have a good time and have done plenty of crazy things and I’m excited to continue the tradition.” Parker Hopkins, NWHS “Not going to school in person was definitely hard. Some people (like me) are more hands-on learners, and having to adjust and work on my own


schedule from home was different for me. I didn’t have the teachers there to push me and motivate me, so some days I wouldn’t be motivated – but, I pulled through in the end and it taught me how to have more selfmanagement and know I can do it if I tell myself I can.” Jamarius Johnson, Northern Guilford “The biggest challenge for me was learning to be by myself and without social activities. The biggest takeaway was learning how to be comfortable by myself – and develop better study habits!” Alexis Ricketts, Northern Guilford “I think the most difficult thing was the virtual Zoom classes. It was really hard to stay focused and pay attention. You’re at home and have so many distractions and there’s so much other stuff you can do. “I learned the end of high school

is a bittersweet time. I learned a lot about growing up and moving into the next chapter of my life. “My biggest highlight was definitely when I got accepted into (UNC) Wilmington. “My biggest disappointment for the year was not being able to feel like a senior – not being among the oldest (on campus). That’s something you look forward to and I didn’t get to have that experience.” Alexandra Ruch, NWHS “The most difficult part was finding all of the different links and assignments to all kinds of websites, while managing to work two jobs and play football during the spring COVID-altered season. “During this past year, I learned to pray for blessings and safety for my family and friends as well as good times through the hardships of my senior year. “The biggest highlight was getting

a lot closer to a lot of my friends even while we were away from school.” Cam Carter, NWHS

accountable a little better. “It was a dull year, but I think the biggest highlight was just graduating. My biggest disappointment was not knowing at the end of my junior year, when we walked out of school on Friday the 13th (March 2020), that was the last time I’d ever see a lot of people from school.” Will Gilbert, NWHS

“Staying focused was definitely the hardest part of this past school year, especially after switching from an in-person environment where we were used to more hands-on learning to sitting at a computer in a remote learning environment. The thing I learned from it is, life isn’t about someone sitting there and cheering you on all the way – you’ve got to be able to do things yourself. There are hard times, but you have to find the willpower to get through them.” Devon Richardson, Northern Guilford

“The most difficult part of this year to me was probably paying attention in class. It was really difficult to stay focused when I was in my own home. I also missed the social interaction that came with being in class. “I learned some better self-discipline this year – I had to have that to make sure I never slacked off.

“Honestly, the most difficult thing was being isolated from everyone in school, especially during my senior year.

“My biggest highlight was probably getting vaccinated and getting to graduate in person. That was impor-

“I think being online all year taught me how to keep a schedule and stay on track. I learned how to hold myself

... continued on p. 30

CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2021 We wish you great adventures, endless laughs, sweet discoveries and

no flat tires

Choose your nearest location, and stop in today to experience the Tire Max difference!

as you enter a new chapter in life. And, THANK YOU to the parents, school staff and community for guiding these seniors through a challenging two years

Stokesdale

Located at Kings Crossing

7705 Highway 68 N (336) 642-3580

Madison

706 Burton Street (336) 642-3460

ONWARD and UPWARD

Summerfield

4420 US Highway 220N (336) 810-8250

High Point

619 Greensboro Road (336) 827-9112

High Point

2410 Eastchester Dr (336) 842-0212

JUNE 2021

15


Graduates of Oak R

We love and ce

Katherine Brown

Ashley Cox

Melina Erhartic

The Early College of Guilford Daughter of Sigrid and Michael Brown, Katherine will be attending UNC-Chapel Hill.

Northwest Guilford High Daughter of Tommy and Cotina Cox, Ashley will be attending Campbell University to study pharmacy.

Caldwell Academy Daughter of Tom and Julie Odendaal, Melina is weighing several possible undergraduate opportunities.

Garrett Stefanick

Corey Strader

Brady Thomas

Northern Guilford High Son of Frank and Linda Stefanick, Garrett has an apprenticeship with Brady HVAC through Guilford Apprentice Program and Guilford Tech.

Bethany Community School Son of Tyler and Amanda Strader, Corey is attending Rockingham Community College on his way to a degree at UNC-Greensboro.

Northern Guilford High Son of Chad and Jill Thomas, Brady will be attending Appalachian State University to study finance.


Ridge UMC Families

elebrate you!

Katie Keller

Tyler Kibble

Caitlin Pritchett

Northwest Guilford High Daughter of Adrian and Rachel Keller, Katie will be attending North Greenville University to study biology and play lacrosse.

Northwest Guilford High Son of Matt and Michelle Kibble, Tyler will be attending North Carolina State University.

Northwest Guilford High Daughter of Jeff and Amy Pritchett, Caitlin will be attending Rockingham Community College to study nursing.

Madeline Waterfield

Lillian Wiener

Northwest Guilford High Daughter of Mark and Beth Waterfield, Madeline will be attending Duke University.

Northwest Guilford High Daughter of Andrew and Sally Wiener, Lillian will be attending Appalachian State University.

oakridgeumc.org/youth


Northwest Guilford High School

Photos by Patti Stokes/NWO

Class of 2021


Northwest Guilford High School graduated 482 seniors on June 7 at the Greensboro Coliseum’s Special Events Center. The graduates will represent Northwest and Guilford County Schools at more than 75 college campuses, four branches of the military and in our local community in a variety of professions. Together, the class accrued 43,000 service-learning hours and was awarded $9.7 million in scholarships. The class average GPA (grade-point average) is 3.7; about a third of the graduates carried a cumulative GPA of 4.0 or above.

See more photos on Facebook.com/NorthwestObserver


Northwest Guilford SENIORS Students whose names are highlighted in yellow graduated with a weighted GPA (grade-point average) of 4.5 or higher, based on the most current grades. Niha Bhandari

A Caitlin Ahern

Luke Bissell

Areej Alathab Alissa

Ansley Blanchard

Saja Alathab Alissa

Zachary Bobe

Michael Alatriste-Rodriguez

Cameron Boothby

Stephanie Alcazar

Quincey Boulware

Andreea Alecse

Scarlet Bouthiette

Akia Ali

Madison Boykin

Knox Allen

Noah Brabble

Christopher Annunziato

Nicholas Brace

Alexis Atkins

Owen Bradford

Hallie Atkins

Caden Brady

John Atkins

Harper Brady

William Atkins

Carson Branz

Kaylen Ayres

Lexi Bravo Kylee Bray

B Daniel Bailey

Vincent Briganti

Oash Baniya Kshetri

Owen Briley

Kaylah Barrios

Aaliyah Brown

Bailey Barrow

James Brown

Daniel Baynes

Kimberly Brown

William Baysinger

Casey Bruton

Savannah Beal

Ashleigh Buck

Jonathan Bean

Vanessa Buck

Genesis Beck

Jessica Burger

Jack Beckett

Sarah Butler

Sheridan Been

C

Jose Benavides

Vincent Cagno

Abigail Bendel

Elizabeth Cake

Celia Bennett

Camden Caldwell

Jordan Bennett

Matthew Caldwell

20

JUNE 2021

Liliana Canozo

D

Brianna Cardwell

Rodrigo DaCosta

Cameron Carter

Ethan Dales

Carson Cassetty

M’Kenzie Davis

Braden Champion

Tara Davis

Briana Chatman

Hegin Dawes

Charlie Chen

Trinity De Risio

Kelsey Cheney

Ramon DeAbreu

Seeva Cherukuri

Evyn Dean

Cameron Chilton

Dacy Denton

Hyeone Choi

Sach Denuwara

Rutvik Choksi

Gabrielle Devaughn

Matthew Cinao

Daniel Dickerson

Rachel Clanton

Pierce Dolan

Isabella Clark

Avery Dole

Scott Clark

Caleb Draime

Matthew Clevenger

Zane Ducat

Jackson Clifton

Ryan Dudzinski

Tanner Clodfelter

Aubreigh Duits

Jesi Coffer

Mckenzie Durant

Benton Coggin

Caroline Durham

Gavin Colby

Ethan Durham

Clayton Cole

E

Noah Collins

Kailee Edens

Kacey Combs

Uduzei Edgal

Trace Cook

Barry Edwards

Rycor Coon

Elaina Edwards

Cameron Copenhaver

Evan Edwards

Morgan Cordts

Noah Edwards

Ryan Cost

Riley Edwards

Ashley Cox

Kyle Eiben

Sydney Craft William Craig Peyton Crane Alysse Cruz Isabella Cruz Ethan Cuddeback

ONWARD and UPWARD

Colton Ellenburg Gavin Ellison Malak El-Shabasy Abigail Englishman Riley Erdner Enes Eroglu Emma Evans


Amelia Haman

Shahryar Humayun

Karter Kennedy

John Felder

Kyle Hamby

Alissa Humphrey

Kamell Kersey

Rylan Fetters

Ruben Hamby

Evan Fitzsimmons

Amelia Hammond

Aamish Irfan

Shaan Khanna

Katharine Fleming

Grace Hammond

Haley Irwin

Charles Kibble

Ethan Fleming-Pitts

Matthew Hampton

Hana Ishige

Jimin Kim

Jazmin Flores-Sanchez

Skylar Handley

Viktoriya Ivanets

Minseok Kim

Mason Fuller

Ethan Handschuh

Adam Ivey

Destiny King

William Fullwood

Marcus Harnarain

F

I

J

Olivia Key

Elijah King

Casey Harrington

Hudson James

Victor Klawitter

Daniela Galvan

Catherine Harris

April Jang

Brandon Knight

James Gentry

Dakota Hash

Kayla Johnson

Esther Koroma

Ailis Geoghegan

Cameron Hawks

DeWayne Johnson

Chasten Kota

Elizabeth George

Cranford Hedrick

Kristopher Johnson

Alyssa Kropski

Nicholas Gervasi

Davis Heinz

Logan Johnson

Alexander Kufel

William Gilbert

Matthew Heras

Brett Johnston

Claire Kusse

Hannah Gillespie

Bobbie Herbin

Lauren Jones

Kim Gjovik

Peyton Herring

James Joplin

Bonnie LaChiusa

James Glover

Kirstin Hill

Najalia Jourdain

Sophia Ladetto

Kyle Godfrey

Avery Hiller

Isabella Joyner

Ashley Larimore

Samuel Godfrey

Brody Hilton

John Jureit

Blake Lawson

Shayna Godino

Mallory Hinkle

Paul Jureit

Savannah Lawson

Rachel Goldin

Joseph Hirvonen

Shyenne Grady

Thomas Hoffman

Gavyn Kanipe

Sofia Lehmann

Jordan Graham

Conor Hogan

Jacob Kawalec

Claire Liberatore

Ezekiel Gravley

Caroline Holbrook

Hailey Keller

Evan Lichtenstein

Daniel Green

Zoe Holbrook

Katie Keller

Josiah Licorish

Aniston Greene

Andrew Holland

Maya Keller

Anjali Greene

Sarah Hollowell

Sydney Gregory

Parker Hopkins

Sydney Grigg

Brian Hornfeldt

Esteban Grijalva

Brandon Houghtby

Caroline Grunewald

Caroline Howard

McKenna Gullickson

Jason Huang

G

H

K

L

Austin Leake

... more NWHS seniors on next page

Congrats,

Joshua Hudson

Margaret Haile

Camden Huffman

Alexander Hall

Jacob Hughes

James Hall

Noah Hulse

ONWARD and UPWARD

Avery Dole

Northwest Guilford High School Attending Canisius College, Fall 2021

Avery, you make us so proud! Congrats on your graduation and your commitment to play volleyball at Canisius College! Through all of your hard work and dedication, your dreams of playing volleyball in college are paying off. You are going to experience so much over the next four years, and although it may not always be easy, your family will be here to support you every step of the way. We love you! Dad, Mom and Brady

JUNE 2021

21


Jaewon Lim

Jeffery Mitchell

Richard Loftis

Kaley Mitchell

Luke Pagonis

Sawyer Rhoney

Tyler Lovin

Emma Moberg

Nakayla Palmer

Rhita Rich

Shaun Lowry

Luke Montgomery

Bryan Park

Gabriel Richards

Grace Ludeman

Jenna Moore

Krishan Patel

Shaena Riddles

Katya Luna

Logan Moore

Om Patel

Morgan Robertson

Anthony Lyons

Macey Moore

Kamryn Pegram

Jordan Robinson

Evan Lyons

Paige Moore

Thomas Pegram

Arly Rodriguez

Edward Pena

Vicenzo Roling-Stella

Julie Pequigney

Addison Rolls

Jacob C Perry

Alexandra Ruch

Jacob P Perry

Austin Russell

P

Rachel Morgan

M Hailey Mabe

Katherine Morris

Marisa Macherosky

Ashton Mosbacher

Cole Madden

Aidan Murray

Madeline Mai

Jadyn Murray

Ryan Malmfelt

N

Austin Manzi

Shaunak Nag

John Marcotte

Grant Naylor

Angelyn Marti

Trevor Nefe

Adelaide Martin

Julia Nelson

Riley McCall

Samuel Nelson

Joshua McClellan

Nicholas Nestor

Madison McDonald

Julia Neumann

Ysantis McKenzie

Paul Newnam

Isis McLachlan

Lilian Nguyen

Corinth McMillan

Johnathan Nix

Diavanni McNeill

Zoey Norris

Liam McWhorter

Sai Nunduri

Jihane Mellouk

Ella Peters

O

Kyle Reiber

S

Jared Petrosky

Emily Saliga

Seth Pickford

Micah Salmon

Tanner Pierce

Myrrhan Sanchez

Sadie Plummer

Daniel Sanchez Berrios

Sophie Plummer

Nicholas Sanfilippo

Carley Pope

Devin Sanguinett

Cassidy Pothast

Alanna Saunders

Madison Prendergast

Sarah Scheponik

Riley Pritchard

Tyler Schmid

Caitlin Pritchett

William Schriever-Rankin

Sydney Proctor

Samuel Schwinn

Michael Pruden

Alyssa Seganish

Will Pruden

Madeline Seganish

Panisara Purcell

Erin Sescourka

Miranda Purgason

Rahim Shaar

Evan Purnell

Marguerite Shue

Jensen Melton

Camden Oates

Reagan Melton

John Obregon

Evan Mendyk

Reese O’Brien

Abdullah Rabbani

Miles Simmons

Quinn Migliaccio

Matthew Oh

Stuti Ramana

Bryanna Simons

Ian Mihailuk

Nakyung Oh

Benjamin Ramsey

Mason Sizemore

Mackenzie Milani-Kaufman

Evan Oliver

Kalina Rashkov

Aria Skovgard

Audrey Milks

Agustin Orozco Saldarriaga

Tanner Ratliff

Skylar Skryzmoski

Brandon Miller

Amar Osman

Lauren Reaves

Cooper Smith

David Miller

William Ostrom

Marquis Reed

James Smith

Annabelle Mills

Ainsley Owen

Westin Reeder

Olivia Smith

22

JUNE 2021

R

ONWARD and UPWARD

Kylie Siler


William Smith

T

Piper Voakes

Winter Whitley

Nicholas Volinski

Zoe Wieczorkowski

Abite Somers

Zihan Tang

Alfredo Sosa

Grace Thacker

Kayla Sosa-Bojorquez

Elle Thigpen

Philip Ward

Eloise Willer

Torre Spatafora

Triston Thompson

Sayku Waritay

Zyon Williams

Kamryn Sprague

Angel Tijerina

Ethan Warner

Bryson Williams

Olivia Steadman

Amara Titus

Mycheal Warner

Abbie Wise

Rachel Steele

Jade Townes

Daylan Warren

Mary Wise

Josiah Stewart

Yashiro Trujillo-Santos

Regan Warshefskie

Stephanie Wright

Jena Stinson

Benjamin Turcola

Victoria Washington

Hunter Wujcik

Charles Stirling

U

Lillian Wiener

W

Jordyn Wassen

Y

Dylan Stout

Hishi Ulak

Madeline Waterfield

Jana Yan

Alli Stovall

Caden Ulmer

Skyler Watson

Brady Stowers

Alexandra Yancey

Ava Urana

Brandon Wayne

Eric Yasaki

Katherine Stratton

V

Carson Webb

Joshua Yi

Zachary Street

Jasmine Varela

Jacob Webb

Haley Sumner

William Vaughan

Jeanette Wei

Ava Sundermann

Liya Veale

Rivers West

Dylan Susko

Isabela Villaran

Nicholas Westberg Devin White Jacob Whitley

James Young Kaleigh Young Adan Younus

Z Shanmei Zhong

You did it!

As you head off on your next adventure, don’t lose your connection to home.

Graduation is an ending that creates a new beginning. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” -Lao Tzu Congratulations to our Viking Nation Graduates! from the NWHS PTSO

ONWARD and UPWARD

JUNE 2021

23


Northern Guilford High School

Photos by Patti Stokes/NWO

Class of 2021

See more photos on Facebook.com/NorthwestObserver


About 70% of this year’s 326 seniors graduated with honors, 83 students earned Cum Laude (GPA 3.5-3.99), 90 students earned Magna Cum Laude (GPA 4.0-4.9) and 42 students earned Summa Cum Laude (GPA 4.5+). The graduating class includes one military appointment to West Point, eight National Merit commendations and one candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars program. Next year the graduates will represent Northern and Guilford County Schools at over 61 college campuses and four branches of the military. Together, the class logged in over 16,333 hours of service to their school. Within the class, 79 students participated in Career and College Promise, earning transferrable college credit, and five seniors were chosen to participate in the GAP program, each earning a $125,000 scholarship toward a 2-year degree while working for local companies. The Class of 2021 earned $3.7 million in scholarships.


Northern Guilford SENIORS Students whose names are highlighted in yellow graduated with a weighted GPA (grade-point average) of 4.5 or higher. Jazmin Nichole Brown

A Jaden Facun Abasolo

Jackson Clark Brownlee

Muluh Amaah Achina Tahngwa

Jonthomas Ryan Buckley

Luke Andrew Aggen

Nicholas Igor Buczkowski

Karen Alicia Aguilar

Meredith Lea Bumgarner

Maia Chiara Albamonte

Austin Michael Burris

Jesse Wayne Amos

Jackson Douglas Burroughs

Jacob William Andrichuk

C

D

Mercy Mwihaki Gathogo

Kevin Patrick Leo Darrow

Bradley Douglas Gentry

Haley Marie Davis

Sarah Taylor Genzlinger

Jordayne Kimberlin Daye

Ian Thomas Gibson

Mateo Joseph DeLisa

Elijah Linwood Gilbert

Joshua Henry Deslauriers

Milan Annabelle Gordon

Jack Allen Dingman

Christopher Michael Gould

Zoe Marie Dovel

Jacob Thomas Green

Tymik Karim Duff

Owen James Griffith

Blake Griffin Dunning

Ellie Pennington Grove

E Abigail Elizabeth Early Kennedy Jordan Edringston

Renisha Gurung Audrey Dolores Guyler

H

Danielle Renee Angiulli

Gavin James Calvert

Jonathan Daniel Edwards

Ashlyn Brett Haines

Alexis Blake Antonelli

Sarah Elizabeth Camden

Luke Alton Eisenbarth

Jacob Remington Halford

Joshua Antoniak

Brandon Nicolas Campbell

Jeffrey Dillon Ellis

Jacob Wayne Hamilton

Elizabeth Grace Carpenter

Madeline Kate Ellis

Emma Grace Hardiman

Emma Erika Bailey

Tyler Grayson Cass

Samuel Michael Emerick

Ali Justine Hardin

Noah Benjamin Bailey

Anaya Salise Cathcart

Tyler Jordan Emma

John Enright Harrington

Arturo Barrios-Zavala

Jocelyn Cervantes-Chipuli

Jaren Ray Evans

Cintrell Delontae Harris

Sarah Morgan Baum

Madison Grace Chambers

Eva Gail Bean

Kendall Nicole Chavis

Koury Lee Faubus

Taylor Nicole Haynes

Kyndall Morgan Beane

Alex Meares Chilton

Alex Christopher Figueroa

Alyssa Marie Hernandez

Lauren Elizabeth Bellows

Robert Bryce Chilton

Emma Dean Fischer

Joshua Ryan Hesman

Sophie Ruth Bene

Chloe Elizabeth Ciliberti

Caitlyn Nicole Fisher

Kaylea Magdalen Hofer

Luis Manuel Benitez Arriaga

Reina Marie Clark

Kamea Patrice Fleming

Justin Elaan Holloway

Savannah Grace Benton

Trinity Faith Clay

Keegan Malachi Fletcher

Abigail Marie Holmes

Lauren Paige Beuerle

Kennedy Simone Clegg

Olivia Nichole Fletcher

Kayron Cordell Artez Holt

Marissa Lemireille Bewry

Kylen Tyree Clemons

Dana Barth Forrester

Logan Shay Horner

Payton John Bilodeau

William Clay Colley

Nicholas David Forrester

Ryan Michael Hosseinzadeh

Cameron Clark Blalock

Jackson Thomas Collie

Alexandra Maria Fotopoulos

Kathryn McKenna Howell

Eduarda Reichmann Blaschke

Jeremiah Steven Collier

Jayla Victoria Froggatt

Katlynn Nicole Blevins

Yasenia Maria Cortez

Abigail Elizabeth Fry

Antonin Bolger

Gavin Quinn Cosgrove

Rohn Gavin Bowden

Clay William Coulter

Sydney Grace Gaffney

Chancellor Dean Jackson

John Michael Brennan

Marisa Emily Cramer

Zachary Christopher Gale

Westleigh Kate Jackson

Rick Allen Broach

Jackson Alexander Cundall

Gabrielle MacKenzie Garcia

Owen David Jacobs

Olivia Rose Garofola

Melanie Lizeth Jaramillo Cortes

B

Colin Vincent Brown

26

JUNE 2021

F

G

ONWARD and UPWARD

Braydon Wayne Hawkins

I Ayman Awade Issaka

J


Jamarius Anthony Johnson

M

Rachel Marie Odendahl

Andrew Patrick Poole

Lauren Meredith Johnson

Abigail Marie MacEldowney

Jason Kwadwo Ofori-Boadu

Emma Lillian Powell

Chelsea Nicole Jones

Andrew David Maddox

Abby Jane Oldt

Martin Alexander Pratt

Faith Leanne Jones-Nartey

Emilia Maria Maj

Aminat Olaide Onikoyi

Noah James Pratt

Dayton Rivers Joyce

Taylor Marie Malloy

Vivianne Monserrat Juarez Serrato

Bailey Lynn Marsh

Aimee Jane Pack

Tyler Matthew Juergens

Ethan Garrett Mathena

Garrett Scott Palmer

Kaedyn Kohl McClanahan

Sarah Michelle Parker

Nyota Ramazani

Benjamin Robert Kaiser

Evan Harrison McIntyre

Trinity Mariza Parrish

Malachai Marquis Rambert

Ethan Michael Katz

Darrius McKinnon-Gardner

Kory Gray Paschal

Yoselin Yoana Ramirez

Aaron Bellivin Keat

Sarah Ratisha McLaughlin

Jessica Joyce Paul

Theresa Ramirez-Rodriguez

Mia Gracen Kelly

Hannah Rose McMasters

Emelia Kate Pearson

Dyon Delay Reese

Lathan Bryant Kennerly

Amanda Maryon McNally

Kyleigh Forbes Pegram

Collin Reese Register

Iman Fatima Khan

Jaron Demetric Meadors

Mikayla Donyell Penn

Ethan Bennett Rehder

Nadia Khan

Brady Andrew Mercer

Haylie Jade Peters

Carlisle Bella Reis

Tallal Ahamad Khan

Emily Kathleen Mercer

Caden Ray Phan

Ashley Reyes

Nicholas C Kile

Connor Riley Michael

Caroline Elizabeth Piersall

Dominic Josef Reynolds

Bryce Paul King

Catherine-Lynne Miller

Jacob Harrison Poche

Chloe Morgan Rhodes

Seth Kiprotich Kipkirui

Clay Alexander Minor

Katherine Clark Poer

Sushen Kolakaleti

Hagen Michael Molitoris

Reagan Makenna Kornegay

Charlzton Alexandria Moore

Nicholas Lee Krueger

Nathan Edward Moore

K

L Torrie Patricia Lalloway Tyler Hyatt LaMarr Markella Royall’ Lambert Joshua Hunter Lanning Nolan Christopher Lawrence Christina M Layton Caleb Alexander Leach Karol Andrea Leiva William James Lenard John Lee Letterman

R

... more NORTHERN seniors on next page

Darlenne Noemi Mosqueda

Arredondo Noah Foster Mount Ayana Amina Muhammad Allison Elizabeth Mullahey Roxanna Hope Mulrooney Rakeem Jamil Murchison Charlotte Elizabeth Murphy Jerome Clarence Myles

Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church celebrates and congratulates its graduating seniors: James William Gunter III (Will Gunter) McMichael High School

Landon Hodgin

Caldwell Academy

Dillon Logan

Northern Guilford High School

Abby Peebles

Grimsley High School

N Pietro Nicholas Nardi

Dillon Jelks Logan

James Eley Newsome

Javier Lora

Ella Read Nichols

Zachary John Lucas

Carly Marie Purgason

Jackson William Moricle

Caeley Brooke Lewis

Jackson Charles Lovelace

Noah Christopher Pruitt

P

Ethan Vandemeer

Niels Bohr Academy Homeschool & Forsyth Technical Community College

We are proud of you and send you with our prayers and blessings. Go with God’s grace to love and serve the world.

O Connor Patrick O’Neal

ONWARD and UPWARD

JUNE 2021

27


Jocelyn Leigha Ribeiro

Richmond Beau Simmons

Zane Joseph Thompson

Jessica Morgan Whitaker

Devon Ahmarie Richardson

Sanya Singh

Christian Alexander Torres Nolasco

Adonijah Favian Whitley

Alexis Renea Ricketts

Kyle Matthew Sivret

Samantha Jennie Townes

Grace Susan Whitlow

George Tucker Riley

Mason Cole Smith

McKayla Lee Traxler

Ashleigh Michelle Wilborn

Camilla M Rivas

Cassidy Adair Spencer

Colby Joseph Tritschler

Jacob Weldon Wilkerson

Nicole Elizabeth Roane

Chase Robert Sperka

Garrett Christopher Trull

Dalton Elias Wilkins

Andrew Jacob Robakiewicz

Paige Allison Spicer

Marlow Reed Turner

Ishmel St George Wilkinson

Kaela Grace Claudine Rochester

Anthony Albert Spizzo

Sydney Paige Turner

Brett Tyler Williams

Diego Anthony Rodriguez

Ava Clare Spradley

Olivia Lauren Rollins

Sarah Abigail Stansill

Alexis Lenora Underwood

Hailey Faith Williamson

William Thomas Starling

Britany Uscanga-Mortera

Sarah Rebecca Willoughby

S

U

Sophie Williams

Alyse Rae Wilson

Yoseph Ahmed Sabek

Garrett Paul Stefanick

Ana Terra Santos

Parker Ashley Stewart

Braden James Vail

Nash Alexander Wilson

Annalise Grace Schumacher

Sophia Irene Tao Strugnell

Ari Truman Vernon

Bella Rane Wooden

Jacob Wellings Scott

Jackson Ellis Sudermann

Kylah Vertrese Seymore

V

W Kyleigh Elizabeth Wall

T

Gabriella Michelle Wright Keaton Jack Wright

Leah Elizabeth Shafer

Jaxon Ethan Tabor

William Wade Wallace

Luna Marie Shaffer

Griffin Bryn Talley

Samuel Hugh Jones Walt

Zubair Hussien Yimam

Mackenzie Laine Shipman

Chloe Danielle Templeman

Slater William Ward

Jonah Matthew Yonaitis

Benjamin Clark Shuttleworth

Roman Sterling Hutchens

Maxwell Arthur Warner

Bradley Ryan Sigmon Thomas Andrew Silvia

Templeton

Brady Christian Thomas

Zachary Michael Watts

Y

Z Lucie Camille Zerfoss

Anna Brooke Wellington

You did it!

As you head off on your next adventure, don’t lose your connection to home.

In Print. Online.

Read it when you want, where you want, how you want 28

JUNE 2021

ONWARD and UPWARD


ASHLEY COX

Carolina – where she will study to become a pharmacist.

...continued from p. 7

members of the team were allowed to practice, she said. Running also helped fill the hours Cox spent at home. Training “was definitely something I looked forward to, even if it was just running up and down the street in my neighborhood,” she said. Cox plans to try out for the crosscountry team at her next stop – Campbell University in Buies Creek, North

RYCOR COON ...continued from p. 9

“I wanted to see friends in person again,” he said. He had also missed in-person instruction.

“I just learn so much better if I can see the teachers,” he said. “It helped me stay involved and made class so much more interesting.” Returning to the classroom reminded Coon how much he had missed his teachers, such as Kim Deyton, his AP U.S. History teacher. “We can learn so much more from our teachers than the subjects they

She said she looks forward to attending college classes in person, as she was able to do in her final weeks of high school.

“It’s so much easier to ask questions and interact when you’re physically with other people,” she said. “I really wanted to see faces.”

CAROLINE HOWARD ...continued from p. 11

spending time with friends and family, “as much time outside as I possibly can,” listening to music and playing with her two dogs, which includes one adopted during quarantine. This fall Howard will head to Duke University. There, she looks forward to exploring different subjects her first year before deciding on a major,

MATTHEW OH teach,” Coon said. “They’ve been through so much life. I really appreciate seeing them and hearing their stories.” Coon will carry those lessons with him when he moves about 2,000 miles from North Carolina to Utah to begin college. He plans to return to Oak Ridge after his freshman year, but for just a few weeks. Next summer, he plans to depart for a two-year work mission, one of the traditions of the Mormon church.

“I will go wherever I get sent,” he said. “My teachers gave me such a good outlook on life,” he added. “Yes, we learned a lot in school, but there’s a lot more for us to learn and there’s so much to look forward to.”

We would like to express our

...continued from p. 13

Having someone play devil’s advocate was important, Oh observed.

“Everyone has views and I agreed with the class on the majority of issues, but if there is never a radical challenge to your views, it’s hard to know why you believe or think a certain way, so I felt it would be helpful if I were to play that role,” he said. Oh also credits his 11th grade English teacher, Melanie HuynhDuc, for being “just a great teacher overall and helping me develop a lot of my writing fundamentals. And, she got me into John Steinbeck with a

which will likely be in the medical or science field. Her sister is a rising junior at Duke and her brother is in graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill, and she’s excited about having them close by. She’s also excited about making new friends, taking classes she is interested in, and being surrounded by people with diverse ideas who are also interested in the same subjects – and of course, she’s excited about going to Duke basketball and other college sporting events. research project she assigned.” Finishing out his high school years in the midst of a pandemic was not without challenges, Oh admits. “I relied on teachers being a regular presence in my life to maintain my motivation, so after COVID hit, I struggled a bit with having the motivation to complete my assignments. I was a little surprised at that. It was definitely a challenge at first to meet my own deadlines; and obviously, none of the clubs were meeting, which was very unfortunate.” When gathering restrictions were in full force, he and friends often connected by playing games online – and he read a lot (one of his favorite books is “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck, and a close second is “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card). This fall Oh will head to Princeton University in New Jersey, where he plans to focus on something related to chemistry – possibly chemical engineering, although he says that may change.

gratitude to the many businesses, churches & family members

who financially helped make this publication possible through their advertising

We couldn’t have done it without you! publisher of the Northwest Observer, Northwest FINDER, At Home in northwest Guilford County, To Your Health, Back to School and Onward & Upward

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COVID CHALLENGES AND TAKEAWAYS

would rather make decisions based on their own agenda versus making decisions based on people’s wants.

tant, and helped me feel like things were getting back to normal. My biggest disappointment was probably not getting into my top choice of college.” Olivia Key, NWHS

“Many people wanted there to be a decision on going back. However, the school system tried to keep their teachers happy by making us all stay online. Once the vaccine was made available for teachers, we were allowed to go back.

...continued from p. 15

“For me, the hardest part of this past year was having online and in-person school, because I was online the entire year although other kids returned to the classroom. It was hard to have that barrier between the kids who were there with the teachers and the kids who were online and not sitting in front of them where they could read facial expressions, see how they were working and if they were able to understand the content. What I learned from that is that no matter what, you have to be willing to take matters in your own hands, take responsibility and not rely too much on others.” Charlzton Moore, Northern Guilford “I would say the most difficult part was staying social. I have a tight group of friends now, but I’ve become more distant with a lot of people I usually don’t see outside of school. “From this past year I learned to stay engaged, not just in school, but also in my social life. Staying engaged helped me stay motivated throughout the school year.

“The biggest highlight for me was being able to experience my last season playing for the school soccer team, and the biggest disappointment I had was not being able to see all my friends in school for the majority of the year.” Jared Petrosky, NWHS “Having everything online made it harder to learn the material because you weren’t in person with the teachers and it was harder to ask questions. My biggest takeaway from all this is that I got much better at being organized and being accountable for completing all my assignments.” Gabi Wright, Northern Guilford “The hardest part of this past year was being separated from my friends and doing my work online, which was so difficult. But it definitely taught me that all I need is myself and sometimes your good friends will stay and the ones who aren’t so good will leave.” Paige Moore, NWHS “The most difficult part was the lack of communication from the school system about schedule changes, and class requirements such as attendance and assignment due dates. “I learned that our school system

“My biggest highlight was graduating after such a rough year and my biggest disappointment was not being able to see people regularly.” Vinny Cagno, NWHS “My biggest struggle was being accountable for the choices I made during the pandemic. As for my takeaway, it’s just, live life.” Keaton Wright, Northern Guilford “My biggest challenge was not being with all my friends. But in my junior year, before the coronavirus hit, I met four really good dudes and this year we found time outside of school to hang out. That brought us together and showed the true value of friendship. I found out it’s not really the time you find in pleasure, but the pleasure you get out of your time that matters.” Logan Moore, NWHS “The biggest challenge of this year was being online, stuck at home with none of my friends and also taking

Congrats,

AP Biology. Future tip for those of you rising seniors: do not take AP Bio, especially if it’s online. That class will just take everything out of you!” Maxwell Warner, Northern Guilford “The most difficult part was not being able to see my friends during my last year of high school. The things that you normally get to experience with your friends you did by yourself or not at all. “I learned to not take anything for granted. I normally would dread going to school but I really missed it this year. “I think my biggest highlight was that we got to have an actual prom. I am so thankful to all of the parents who made it happen for us. I’m looking forward to continuing my education and my cheerleading career at N.C. State. Go Pack!” Kaleigh Young, NWHS “I wasn’t used to taking classes online, so I had to adapt to a new way of organizing my work and being on top of everything.” Will Starling, Northern Guilford “Learning how to manage my schedule all by myself and having to find motivation within myself was difficult. The most important lessons I learned were self-discipline, finding those internal drives, and wanting success, not through your teachers or grades but through your own internal motivation

Carson Reynolds

Caldwell Academy, class of 2021

Carson, congratulations on reaching what feels like an ending, but is really a beginning! We are so proud of you and of the man you are becoming. We can't wait to see where the Lord leads you and how He will use you in this world. You are a blessing. We love you! Dad, Mom, Jonathan, AnnaGrace, and Lily

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ONWARD and UPWARD


and achievements. Seeva Cherukuri, NWHS “The most challenging part of this past year of school was adapting to everything they threw at us – because they changed it a lot! It was for the best, I’m sure, but it was challenging learning online and not being with classmates. It definitely made me accountable, though, which I wasn’t always successful at. It’s good preparation for college, because the teachers won’t be there to hold your hand.” Savannah Benton, Northern Guilford “My biggest challenge was attending online classes. My biggest takeaway is to interact with all your classmates, because you’ll never see most of them again.” Jessica Choi, NWHS “Not being able to see friends and teachers was hard, but it got better towards the end of the year and we got to see each other at prom and at a Grasshoppers game. My advice to others would be, don’t procrastinate, because doing your work on time will make it easier in the long run.” Aminat Onikoyi, Northern Guilford

“Finding the motivation to get up and attempt to do school work instead of laying around was the hardest part about this year. It taught me that hard work pays off, to always believe in yourself, and you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.” Jenna Moore, NWHS “The hardest part for me was focusing – it was difficult being online. Learning to manage my time was my takeaway.” Charlie Chen, NWHS

“Trying to work by myself without much help was the hardest thing

about this past year. As for takeaways, you’re more focused when you’re alone.” Dominic Reynolds, Northern Guilford “The hardest part was having to be my own motivation and guide my own learning. With that, I learned a better understanding of what it will be like in my adult life. While it’s not ideal, I feel this situation set us up for success and taught us self-motivation and to kind of pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and take hold of our own lives instead of always having someone look over our shoulder.” Macey Moore, NWHS

Congrats class of 2021 Despite all the challenges you faced the last two years of high school, you did it! Embrace the journey and don’t forget the road back home to your loved ones.

“My biggest challenge this year was moving to a new school. It was my first and my last year at Northern, and trying to adapt to doing everything online was really hard because neither the teachers nor the students had enough time. What I learned was to be more independent and do what I needed to do without someone else telling me to.” Ashley Reyes, Northern Guilford “We had to solve everything through the remote learning process, but the highlight was that we came together and beat this thing.” Kelsey Cheney, NWHS “Definitely the hardest thing about being a senior this year was the schedule changes – and there were a lot of them throughout the year. You would get into a rhythm and a change would interrupt it – but once you got into that rhythm you would be successful. One takeaway was, once I returned to in-person class (this spring) it was a lot of fun and one of the best experiences I’ve had to see people I hadn’t seen in a while and know everything was getting back to normal.” Matthew Cinao, NWHS

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Congratulations Class of 2021 In addition to the Northern Guilford and Northwest Guilford High School graduates, we would like to congratulate all the high school graduates living in our local communities who attended schools throughout Guilford County and beyond, including private and charter schools, and those who were home schooled.

And a few words of advice... (Excerpted from “Make Your Bed,” by Admiral William H. McRaven)

Remember… start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if you take some risks, step up when times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden, and never, ever give up — if you do these things, then you can change your life for the better… and maybe the world!

We wish you all the best publisher of the Northwest Observer, Northwest FINDER, At Home in northwest Guilford County, To Your Health, Back to School and Onward & Upward