Local News

Graduates Express Happiness, Relief After Violent School Year Ends

Posted June 3, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Students, parents and especially educators have been waiting for this day: the last day of school.

The last two months of school were plagued by fear and rumors after theschool shootings in Colorado and Georgia. Hundreds of students gathered in Memorial Auditorium Friday night for graduation.

Southeast Raleigh High Schoolseniors officially entered the adult world. They hope to begin a new chapter in their lives, and along with their classmates around the country, close the book on a year filled with violence.

The seniors are celebrating a first and a last. They are the first graduating class from the new school, and the last class of the millennium.

"I feel great. I am so excited to be here today, and I love my school so much," says graduate Kerrithey Aultman.

Aultman says the school staff has been very comforting in a year of heavy school violence nationwide.

Southeast Raleigh has had a few incidents and Principal John Modest says he is a little relieved that the year is over.

"We'll relax a little, but everyone needs to get focused, be proactive, and let's create a plan so that we can avoid those situations in the future," Modest said.

Aultman is also glad that the year is over. Even though she always felt very safe, one never knows what can happen.

"I feel like I can be a little safer now, and go on about my business and not have to worry about being in school and what might happen if I was there," she said.

Aultman's mother hopes the next few months off will have a rejuvenating effect on schools everywhere.

"I think the summer will give everybody a break, and hopefully put it out of their minds and we can move forward, and hopefully next year can be a much better year," says mother Diane Jefferies.

Apex High Schoolheld their graduation across the street at the Raleigh Convention Center, and there was a definite police presence in the area.