News Column

Scotty McCreery Walks Across Another Stage

June 6, 2012

Sarah Nagem

Extra security won't be on hand Thursday when Garner High School's most-famous graduate walks across the stage.

But fans hoping to get a glimpse "American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery are out of luck -- like other Wake County, N.C., high schools, Garner requires a ticket to attend its graduation.

Regular security measures will be in place Thursday at the Raleigh Convention Center, said Wake schools spokeswoman Samiha Khanna. That means two school-system security officers, one or two Raleigh police officers and about 15 private security guards.

"We're having the same security protocol as we are for everyone," Khanna said.

It might be a good thing that graduation is scheduled for 8 a.m. on a weekday, said Garner High School Principal Drew Cook. In Wake County, the time and date for each school's graduation is on a rotating basis, and this was Garner's year for an early ceremony.

Students receive tickets to the event based on the number of seats. This year, each Garner High School senior got eight tickets to give to family members and friends.

"Of course we're going to be conscientious as always," Cook said.

But the principal said he's not anticipating any issues, beyond some extra media attention. Scotty returned to school for his senior year with few problems. Security escorted the teen to classes for a short while until it was clear he could move around the school freely.

"Over the course of the year, (the attention) kind of ebbed and flowed," Cook said.

When Scotty would win an award, Cook said, some phone calls and letters would come in. (Scotty was named the top new artist at the American Country Awards.)

The teen's senior year of high school included the debut of his album, "Clear As Day," which went platinum. He filmed the video for "The Trouble With Girls" at Garner High School. He performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and toured with country-music star Brad Paisley.

And he pitched for the Trojans' baseball team.

"It's been special to have Scotty with us," Cook said. But he said it's sad to see all his seniors leave.

Scotty is heading to N.C. State University in the fall. As for graduation day, Cook said he expects the event to go as smoothly as the entire school year has for Scotty McCreery and the rest of the class.

"It's just business as usual, and it has been all year long," he said.

Source: (c) 2012 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

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