Graduation ceremony brings D.C. Virgo full circle
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington’s D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy graduated its first 8th grade class since the school reopened in 2012 Wednesday night. The school closed in 2011 for low attendance.
At the ceremony, there was crying, clapping, singing, and laughing. Principal Eric Irizarry says it took three years of hard work. For one those graduates, it was a life changing three years.
“It’s been, you know, blood, sweat, and tears opening up this school,” Irizarry said.
While the school had its own journey, so did graduate Deshawn Harrington.
“‘Cause in 6th grade I used to be in his office every day, 24/7,” Harrington said.
Harrington says he is walking across the stage because of Irizarry and the teachers there.
“If it wasn’t for my time here, I would have already gotten kicked out of school, but they gave me so many chances,” Harrington said.
While Harrington waited for his final chance to cross that stage, Irizarry took the podium.
“What I like to do is give this award to a student that embodies what we do here at Virgo,” Irizarry said.
Irizarry gives one student a “Principal Award” every year.
“This student has been here since the very beginning,” Irizarry said. “When he walked into this school, oh, he was a mess. He always had a big heart, but I was just waiting for him to finally pull it together and it really happened this year.”
That student was Harrington. It was a life-changing moment for his mom, his future and his family at Virgo.
“We are a family,” Harrington said. “Some of us, we’ve been through so much, but we are still a family.”
This family sent its first 92 graduates off to high school. Many of the students are going to New Hanover High School, but 15 of them are going to early college.
Irizarry says this just shows how much progress they have made.