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UCPS to graduate about 3,000 hopeful, happy seniors

Union County Early College graduated its seniors on May 8 at South Piedmont Community College. At 71, it's the school's largest graduating class in its six-year history.

When the last graduation cap has been ceremoniously tossed into air and the last high school diploma has been gripped by that eager senior, Union County Public Schools will have graduated approximately 3,000 students.

Many of this year’s graduating seniors are shining stars, with some receiving millions in scholarship offers to attend various universities, while others plan to serve their country in the armed forces or begin their journey into the work force.

Here are just a few highlights from our graduating seniors:

Weddington High School point guard Stephanie Watts will attend UNC-Chapel Hill on a full basketball scholarship, worth more than $2 million. She is the first Union County basketball player to be named by the Associated Press as the Player of the Year for the state of North Carolina.

Watts, the county’s all-time leading scorer (2,566 points), broke a North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s record with having the most three pointers made in one season at 156 shots. She is second in NCHSAA history in career three-pointers with 374 shots.

She has won state and national basketball recognitions/awards, including the 2015 Naismith High School All-American; the 2015 North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year; the 2014-15 North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association District 9 Player of Year; 2014-15 North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association First Team All-State; 2014-15 NCPreps 3A All-State.

Cameron Tripp, a senior at Piedmont High School, plans to attend Harvard on a football scholarship, while Forest Hills High School graduating senior Jesse Helms plans to attend West Point Military Academy.

Several UCPS students have perfect attendance records from kindergarten through 12th grade. Savannah Hargett of Parkwood High continued her father, Ricky Hargett’s tradition of having perfect attendance during school years. Central Academy of Technology and Arts has six students with perfect attendance.

Some students, like Weddington High School senior Michael Drewery, have community service hearts. Drewery started his own fundraising community to buy Lifestraws, which are personal water filters, for children in Kenya. Since 2013, Drewery has raised more than $1,000 to purchase 100 LifeStraws to send to Africa.

Other students are more business-oriented. Chandler Dalton Williams, a Weddington High School senior, joined up with his brother and formed Two Boys and Brush, a landscaping, trash removal and basic cleaning business.

Porter Ridge High senior Thomas Reed owns TCRHerps, where he breeds, sells and trades designer ball python morphs and other reptile, reptile skeletal articulations, art and handcrafted items. He has contributed to more than 20 publications for the Creative Kids Magazine. 

Union County Early College, located on the campus of South Piedmont Community College, is the first UCPS high school to graduate its seniors. Held on May 8 to coincide with the SPCC’s graduation, Early College were awarded more than $2 million dollars in scholarships.

Celebrating its largest graduating class to date in its six-year history, the school witnessed 71 seniors walk across its stage. Of those, 49 will receive associate’s degree, 57 will continue their education at a four-year college, three will serve in the armed forces and four will enter the workforce.

"I salute each of our approximately 3000 UCPS graduates. I also rejoice with the parents of these graduates," said UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary B. Ellis. "As these young people begin the rest of their lives, I wish them Godspeed and hope they use their talents to better the world in which we live. Graduates have been nurtured, and now it is time to spread the wings and fly…Fly well, fly high, and make a positive difference in this world!"

No matter the life path after graduation, you can count on one thing. There will be about 3,000 very happy young adults this weekend.

Below is the schedule of upcoming graduation ceremonies:

Central Academy of Technology & Arts - June 11, 2015 - 3:00 p.m. - Winthrop University, Rock HIll, SC

Cuthbertson High School - June 11, 2015 - 7:00 p.m. - Winthrop University Coliseum, Rock Hill, SC

Forest Hills High School – June 12, 2015 – 8:00 p.m. – Forest Hills Jacket Stadium

Marvin Ridge High School - June 12, 2015 - 10:00 a.m. - Winthrop University Coliseum, Rock Hill, SC

Monroe High School – June 12, 2015 – 9:00 a.m. – Austin Auditorium, Wingate University

Parkwood High School– June 12, 2015 - 2:00 p.m. - Winthrop Byrnes Auditorium, Rock Hill, SC

Piedmont High School – June 11, 2015 - 12:30 p.m. – Cabarrus Arena

Porter Ridge High School – June 11, 2015 - 4:00 p.m. - Cabarrus Arena

South Providence – June 10, 2015 - 6:00 p.m. – at South Providence Media Center

Sun Valley High School – June 11, 2015 – 9:00 a.m. – Cabarrus Arena

Weddington High School – June 11, 2015 – 10:00 a.m. – Winthrop University Coliseum, Rock Hill, SC


Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe - UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jun 08, 2015 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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