Local News

Wakefield graduation bittersweet as classmate remembered

Posted June 8, 2007
Updated January 10, 2009

— Friday night’s graduation for Wakefield High School students was bittersweet as they remembered their classmate who died in a drunken-driving crash in January.

The ceremony was especially difficult for Dr. Rosemarie Newman and her family. Just before diplomas were handed out, the principal called for a moment of silence in honor of Newman's son, Sadiki Young.

He was supposed to march in with the Class of 2007.

“The whole process of graduation, moving on and all the aspirations he had, they’re gone,” Newman said.

Sadiki died in January when the car he was riding in went off an embankment on Wakefield Plantation Drive.

Newman said it was difficult to attend graduation, but she wanted to share the proud moment with Sadiki’s friends.

“A lot of them I’ve known since elementary school,” she said.

Justin Jefferson and Robby Hartinger had been Sadiki's best buddies since childhood.

“It’s bittersweet in that sense,” Justin said. “He’s not here with us like we originally planned.”

“I’m sad, but I know he’d be happy for the two of us, because we were all three best friends,” Robby said.

Family and friends said Sadiki had a bright smile and friendly personality that are sorely missed.

“Seeing his cap, gown, his honor tassels sitting on a seat, lying on a seat without him – that’s something I can’t describe to anyone,” Newman said. “I hope [his friends and classmates] remember what he stood for and just what a wonderful person he was and how he made everybody feel great.”

Since her son’s death, Newman has made it a point to talk to high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving.

As for Sadiki’s friends, Justin plans to attend Wake Forest University, and Robbie plans to attend NC State.


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  • grayboomerang Jun 10, 2007

    Ah, thank you....I'm getting older and the years are running together these days.

    However, with that said, as another poster pointed out....if you are going to do an article about one student's tragic death, then you should be willing to include all students, regardless of what school that they attended.

    All these deaths are tragic, not just one in particular.

  • computer trainer Jun 10, 2007

    You know, I think the 4 that flipped off the new 264 were not all seniors last year. I think that at least one of them would have been a senior this year. It is sad anyway, but they all made their choices. Teens think that they are going to live forever. Why, since their friends who have drank and driven have sometimes wound up dead or severely injured, I don't know.

  • phoenixelon99 Jun 9, 2007

    Grayboomerang - they were seniors with the class of 2006, not 2007. They were memorialized last year.

  • sini27 Jun 9, 2007

    Mark, you are just mean. May you never walk in Sadiki's mom's shoes...it must be nice to have your life planned out just so, with everything in order. Don't ever assume that your kids aren't going to step out of line, no matter how "well" you raised them, Mark. You never know...

  • atozca Jun 9, 2007

    Isn't he the one left to die by his buddies because they were afraid of being caught?

  • kaykay12 Jun 9, 2007

    I'm sorry, i know a life had been lost and its very tragic and all but why is this a "top story"? we had a moment of silence at my graduation yesterday for a fellow classmate that died, why cant it be reported too??

  • str8-line Jun 9, 2007

    This is not a new problem. I graduated in 1976 and we had several students while I was in high school die as a result of drinking and driving.

  • Harvey Jun 9, 2007

    Mark, it is impossible to write a story and NOT spin it. This is what the right-wing calls liberal bias. However, I would like to see you try and rewrite it with no spin and have it remain interesting.

    In the meantime, I agree it's sad, but this bad stuff will always happen. It's part of life. Kids are kids and I feel lucky that I made it through some of the situations I put myself in at their age. There were PLENTY of chances that I would have died too.

  • computer trainer Jun 9, 2007

    While Sadiki was not the driver, he willingly got into a vehicle with someone he KNEW had been drinking and who was UNDERAGE, meaning they were breaking at least two laws. He could have been drinking himself. I have to agree with Mark. This was a time for celebration for graduates, but the only thing that they are reporting is about this student who was honored because he died. He got into a vehicle with a drunk driver and was killed. They could have killed others, also. The rest of the public was lucky that it was not them that were hit, just an embankment.

  • grayboomerang Jun 9, 2007

    Weren't the four boys who died when they flipped off of the new 64 bypass, seniors????

    Were they not remembered as well?