I would like to take a moment to reflect on my time at Veritas and testify to the mighty work of God through this ministry.
It goes without saying that Veritas provides an excellent academic program and for most it is clear that at its core, the Veritas staff and parents are the heartbeat of this community of believers, believers who understand that Veritas is a ministry to parents and children, to the bright and to the challenged; to the stable and to the shaken.
Veritas has not only provided direction and encouragement to parents but it has been a refuge place for the broken, the sick, and the hurting. That doesn’t sound like a school does it- but it does sound like a ministry and Veritas is both a school and a ministry. Our world is broken, sick and hurting. Like our worldview that is inseparable from our actions, this truth finds its way into our homes, our churches and our schools. People are broken because of sin and sin isn’t going to leave us. Veritas is a blessing because the staff recognizes our position before God as sinners saved by grace and as a staff our calling to minister to a hurting world.
As I look back over the past ten years there are many students who we have seen transformed by the Truth and by the loving care of parents and teachers partnering together to train their children.
Our first year we had a students that struggled academically and we weren’t sure would graduate let alone go on to college. The student was inspired by one of our teachers to purse an interest in a particular subject and succeeded in graduating from college in this area of study. Today he would tell you the vital part Veritas played in his life.
I think of a student who was with us during their middle school years who tested our patience by mocking the truths we uphold. Today that young man is in the ministry and testifies to a change in his life after reading a book on how God views mockers given to him by one of our staff members and recounts the love and grace extended to him during his years at Veritas.
I think of many who came to us with anxiety issues, who couldn’t be separated from a parent, who didn’t speak in class for weeks, -but who found their way with the love, encouragement and prayers of teachers and parents working together. Some of these students are still with us, others have left us but all of them have overcome their fears and have grown in their relationship and trust in Christ.
I think of students who have come to us from a difficult family life. One student whose life was in turmoil and his grades were so bad that other Christian schools would not accept him. He wanted, he needed someone to believe in him and give him a chance. Sitting with him in my office he expressed a sincere desire to change his attitude and work hard in school. Veritas took him in. Teachers loved on him, encouraged him and devoted extra time to instruct him. His attitude was transformed and his GPA was transformed. Veritas gave him the chance to succeed. Without Veritas he would have ended up in public school, defeated. He now attends the five day program at Indian Rocks but without Veritas that would not have been possible.
I think of students who have come to us from broken homes, who are hurting and confused. Often with a divorce comes financial challenges that warrant pulling students out of full time private schools. Veritas has been a place of refuge for these students by offering a Christian education that a single parent can afford and by providing discipleship and teacher mentors. Again without Veritas, public education would be the only option for these students.
I think of students who have come because they were advanced in a particular area of study and could not find accommodations for their individual strengths in other Christian schools. Veritas has met their needs.
I think of students who have come with an illness-physical or emotional, who need a smaller environment to provide a sense of security for them and peace of mind for the parents.
I think of students who have come because they were bullied in public school or other Christian schools and found a place where their individuality is celebrated.
I think of students who have come with academic challenges like one high school student who was two years behind in math. With the help of Mrs. Rice and Mrs. Hernandez this student gained the skills necessary to pass the St. Petersburg College placement test and was able to make up the math deficiencies, graduating and going on to college early.
I think of two of our seniors whose goal it was to graduate high school with their Associate of Arts degree from St. Petersburg College and have succeeded in doing so because of the opportunities and direction Veritas provided them through Mrs. Hopping.
Students have come and gone to Veritas for many different and personal reasons, some to find refuge, some to gain strength, all increasing their scholarly knowledge and growth in their understanding of the gospel. Some students gained academic, emotional or physical strength that have helped them move on to a five day program, some parents found the confidence to teach and have gone on to homeschool full time, others have rested in the blending of the two models and found a home at Veritas.
It is clear that Veritas is much more than a school where academics take place, more than a school that looks at the statistics at the end of the year to judge school success. Veritas is a place where the gospel is lived out, where Christ is exalted and where staff, parents and students understand the importance of working together to help shape and train children to fulfill their purpose to love and follow the Lord.
The stories of these students are easy to remember because they and many like them are the trophies we present to the Lord as an offering of praise for what He has done in our midst. For those staff who are leaving -Mrs. Hopping, Mrs. Rice, Mrs. Ransdell, Mrs. Hawkins, Coach and Mr. Watson-I want you to know the essential part you all played in the transformation of these students’ lives. So as we say our goodbyes we lift our students as our worship to our God who has provided all our needs, directed our path, given wisdom and counsel, empowered us with grace and patience, and allowed us the privilege of being entrusted with your children. God has been faithful and we know He will continue to be faithful.
Goodbyes are difficult and today we say goodbye to teachers, administrative staff, parents and students. Let me end by addressing the seniors and those in transition-The next great thing is just around the corner for each of us. God is always up to something good, and He will continue the good work He began. I have said before the “each season of life is the end of something wonderful and the beginning of something glorious”. While the past few years together have been wonderful, whether you are remaining at Veritas under the direction of Mr. Parmerlee or are leaving to pursue other options, I am confident that God will do a new work in your life conforming you more and more to His image. Seniors, this is a new beginning for you, a new season in your life and I am confident that God has glorious plans for you. God is on the throne brothers and sisters so……
Now we look to the future. Look forward to God’s continued work in your heart, in the work He began at Veritas and in whatever adventure He brings your way. Remember our mission; stay the course to the end and “whatever you do, do all for the glory of God”.