‘Sad to Leave, but Eager to Begin’

By Bill Kirby Jr.

            Politicians might be wary these days, if only Sarah Wright had other plans than to one day pursue a career in health care.

            When it comes to winning elections, the 18-year-old Terry Sanford High School senior has quite the track record at the Cumberland County school.

            “The biggest thing I will miss about high school is Terry Sanford’s Student Government Association,” says Wright, who just happens to be the SGA president. “The lessons I have learned in leadership and service through being involved in this association have granted me the ability to represent my school and its students with unwavering grace, dignity and pride.”

            Some of our leaders in Washington, D.C. could take a lesson from Sarah Wright. Some of our Fayetteville City Council members, too.

             “Deciding to join was the best decision I made throughout my high school career,” Wright says about her SGA experience. “The SGA truly allowed me to explore my strengths as a leader and develop a unique leadership style that I plan to carry with me into college. I’ve additionally used my experiences on the SGA to become a nationally certified distinguished student leader by the National Student Council. My council is filled with some of the most dedicated and passionate individuals Terry Sanford has to offer, and it’s been a joy watching us grow this past year as a team, despite all the adversity we have faced. I’m proud to have served Terry Sanford and even more proud to have played a small role in developing such extraordinary leaders and people.”

            And just for the record, you should know that Sarah Wright wasn’t just the SGA president for the 2020-2021 academic year, she was the freshman SGA class president, the sophomore SGA class president and the junior SGA class president.

            That says something about her, and it says something about her fellow classmates who hold her in high esteem. So it should come as little surprise she was voted as the senior class “Most Likely to Succeed” superlative.

            Filing for Fayetteville City Council races to include mayor and council seats is scheduled for July 2, according to Angie Amaro with the Cumberland County Board of Elections, and the filing period extends through July 16.

            Not to worry, Mr. Mayor.

            Not to worry, City Council incumbents.

            Or you folks in Washington, D.C.

            Wright has other plans after turning her tassel Wednesday in the graduation exercise scheduled for the Crown Complex. She is headed to East Carolina University as a full-ride scholar student.

            “With this program, I will have rigorous course work, various research opportunities and a paid semester abroad,” she says. “I am double majoring in biology and chemistry with the intention of one day going to medical school. I would love to study abroad in either England or Switzerland to learn about universal health care. Visiting somewhere with a lot of holistic and alternative medicine, like Japan, would also be an excellent experience for my career. I’m ecstatic to attend and represent such an outstanding university through my scholarship and look forward to seeing where the school and its community take me.”

Health Pandemic No Match for Sarah

            No matter the excitement and anticipation of college days to come, high school graduation can be bittersweet, including a year accentuated by the COVID-19 health pandemic that too often kept Wright and her fellow classmates away from one another.

            “During the last four years Sarah has been the president of her class and SGA president this year,” says Thomas Hatch, the school principal. “This is a testament to her leadership skills and ability to build positive relationships with her classmates. The last year has been difficult, but Sarah worked tirelessly to find ways to engage our students and promote school spirit and pride during the time when the campus was closed to students. She kept the school rock brightly decorated with a theme and worked to ensure that students remained connected during the height of the pandemic. Through her work on the FTS SGA, she is well prepared for the rigorous medical field she will enter one day.”


Epilogue

            Sarah Wright will join with 272 other seniors on Wednesday to bid farewell to the old school, circa 1922.  She will join with Lauren Hallas, the class valedictorian, in delivering remarks in the 12:10 p.m. ceremony.

.           “Terry Sanford has been my home for the past four years and has blessed me with countless opportunities to grow as a leader and a person,” Wright says. “I’m sad to leave, but eager to begin a new journey using the tools FTS has granted me – the art of self-discipline, accountability and dedication toward one’s endeavors. Bulldogs are known for their unwavering loyalty to those they consider family. While I am graduating from FTS, Terry Sanford and its community will always hold a special place in my heart.”

            Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at bkirby@cityviewnc.com, billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961