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May 28, 2014
By Perry R. Banse, Assistant Superintendent, Middle/High School Principal

Two very significant events in the life of our school are the Kindergarten and Senior graduations. They are milestones that mark the end of something and the beginning of something new. They are amazing ceremonies that are very personal for those involved. They are truly a celebration of accomplishment.

The Kindergarten graduation is always full of surprises. Anytime you have 51 little people walking down the aisle and across the stage in caps and gowns, there is no way to be sure of what will happen. The teachers, Nicole Ryan, Libby Cheatham, and Cassandra Fish put together an outstanding program that was memorable for all who attended. After an entrance to “Pomp and Circumstance”, they performed three different songs. There’s something about a choir of little voices singing with hand motions that brings joy to the heart. They did an amazing job. They also showed an incredible power point featuring some great candid shots of the students.

Another unique feature to kindergarten graduation is when the students received their diplomas, a recording of them saying what they wanted to be when they grow up played followed by a picture of them in their cap and gown. We had many vocational choices including policemen, firemen, builders, a couple of princesses, a cowboy sheriff, and Ironman.

The High School graduation is similarly personal. We were able to live stream the event and it can be viewed at under News and Events. Our seniors enter to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” while a list is read of their high school accolades.

One of the remarkable accomplishments of this class is that 57 of the 61 seniors had been on at least one mission trip during our high school mini-mester. The average trips taken were 2.8 per student. They have served in 15 countries and five states over their four year high school career.

Back to the ceremony, at the same time as the seniors walk in, the parents of the students are walking down a parallel aisle. The graduates meet their parents in the front of the auditorium and present their mother a rose. This promotes a lot of hugging and tears.

Three students traditionally give speeches during the ceremony. Christopher Parish spoke as the Valedictorian; Ian Fitzpatrick as the Salutatorian; and Alex Buchanan as the class president. All three gave exceptional speeches but never before has there been a time that both the Valedictorian and Salutatorian received standing ovations at the completion of their speeches.

The music was also phenomenal. Our choir and our band traditionally each do a musical selection at graduation. This year was no exception, and they were great. In addition, a group of seniors performed a special rendition of “The Goodbye Song” that was incredibly well done and well received by a very enthusiastic audience.

The other quite personal part of our program is when the students receive their diploma. As they cross the stage a prerecorded 30 second message plays from each graduate and the large screens show a series of pictures of each from the time they were young ending with their senior picture. Some are funny, others touching, but all are genuine reflections of the students. The whole service is just under two hours long but is definitely worth the watch.

We are proud of our graduates and their accomplishments. We wish them God’s blessing as they go out from here.