Archives - June 2018

50th Anniversary - Fall 2018

June 29, 2018
By Admissions Office

We're turning 50!

From Fall 1968 to Fall 2018 - Stay tuned for celebration details.

Click the photo below for an easier-to-read, easy to print version.

2018 Commencement Speech: Kaitlyn W.

June 05, 2018
By Admissions Office

Below is the commencement speech of Kaitlyn W., Class of 2018

June 2, 2018 – 10:00 AM – Fourty-Third Commencement 

Good morning Pastor Inman, Dr. Meyer, Mrs. Troia, faculty, parents, and guests. Thank you for joining us on this morning to celebrate the Class of 2018.

In January during Spirit Week, our grade put together a skit that was centered on the plot of Toy Story. In this skit, Andy is about to leave for college. His toys find out that he is going to leave them and they are completely distraught. They decide that the best plan of action is to sabotage Andy and hide all of his stuff that he needs for college so that he will never be able to leave them – a pretty genius plan for a bunch of toys, I have to say. After putting this plan into action and seeing the extra stress that it adds to Andy, who is already really nervous and struggling to process the change that accompanies his transition to college, the toys have a revelation. They realize that even though it is hard to leave Andy, the growth and joy that he is going to experience in college makes it all worth it. The toys decide to have one last look at all the memories they have made with Andy and find peace knowing that those memories will be a part of them forever. They finally summon the courage to support Andy as he leaves, return his things, and say one final goodbye.

I admit, part of the purpose behind this skit was to be really dramatic and play every emotional card we could as seniors so that we could make our teachers and faculty cry – which they did, so good job, class. Besides being emotional, there are truths within this simple plot that we now find ourselves facing on this morning.

Change is inevitable but it is crucial to our growth as people. It can be sad or overwhelming but like the toys we have an option. Our first option, we can try to stop it, we can it ignore it and look the other way in hopes of putting off its effects. With our second option, we can recognize its worth and embrace it, finding peace in the truth that the memories we have made have shaped us into the people we are today and will never leave us. We can look back and treasure those memories and let them inspire us to chase after making new ones, even better ones, looking forward to the day when we can look back again and see how all the pieces come together. We have that choice this morning; I hope we choose the latter.

Before I address the students on stage, I would first like to thank the parents, family members, teachers, leaders, and mentors. You have fed into and shaped each and every one of us on stage, and you are the people that without, we would be completely lost.

Parents and homestay hosts, this is it. For some of you this is a big day because you are sending your first child off to college. For others, this is an emotional day because we are leaving you with an empty nest. Still for others, this is a day of long awaited celebration where you are freed from the shenanigans of your teenage child and the never-ending chains of RenWeb emails. Whatever the case may be, you deserve the uttermost appreciation, for your physical provisions, your patience, your wisdom, and your love. Trust me when I say, we would not be here without you.

Teachers, thank you for your dedication and devotion which extends beyond the classroom to our personal lives and spiritual journeys. Thank you for not only granting us knowledge, but for your kindness, availability, and prayers. I would like to also give a special shout out to our class advisors, Mr. and Mrs. Garcia, who sacrificed their personal time – and lots of it – to help us prepare for Spirit Week. Mr. Garcia, props to you for painting your face green so you could look like Yoda.

Administration and the school board, thank you for striving to create a safe environment in which we are encouraged to love one another and grow holistically, honoring God, ourselves, and those around us.

Class of 2018, thanks for the memories: From the big moments, like Spirit Weeks and dances to the small moments, like good conversations at lunch to the hilarious moments, like anytime Hudson and Richard were together in a room. Thank you for the times of stress and conflict as well as the fun times. It is these moments that shaped us the most and taught us to become more loving and understanding people.

I like to think of our class as more of a family than a grade. Yes, in the sense that I feel we have all gotten to enjoy and appreciate each other so much, but even more so in the sense that we really couldn't escape each other no matter how hard we tried. Really, there are about 60 people in our grade and it’s a small campus. The reality is you will most likely see everyone at least three times a day whether you want to or not. But this small environment and inevitable interaction is what makes us a family, and I’ve come to learn that it is an enormous blessing that I wouldn’t want any other way.  

Families have a unique bond, one in which you get to know each other fully, struggles and flaws included. It is this bond and level of vulnerability that can make a family’s love even stronger. We have a small class, so we didn't have much of a choice in who we surround ourselves with. But we did have the opportunity to learn to appreciate each other on the deepest level: that is, to appreciate others just for being them, flaws and quirks included. Every single person sitting behind me has brought an indispensable characteristic to our class. It’s much more than gifts of athleticism or artistic and musical ability - though we have plenty of students who are exceptional in those areas. Each student has brought forward a special, more subtle trait to our class like kindness, empathy, passion, or being a good listener.

In the many places we go in life, we tend to not miss the obvious traits of people, the characteristics that you can see even with minimal interaction with that person. It’s the subtler, more hidden traits within people, the ones that take the most effort and time to find and appreciate, that are the most meaningful. Our class has taught me to seek out and cherish those qualities within others. And that Class of 2018, that sense of true, tight knit community, community as God intended it, that welcomes flaws and imperfections. It uses them to build an even stronger sense of love is what we must take with us and continue to fight for.

We are all going to head off in different directions in college and the days beyond. Though it may be hard and some of us may not stay in touch, we can find peace in the midst of overwhelming change. Knowing that no matter what changes, no matter what we leave or lose in life, we can never lose the memories and experiences we’ve had. They have shaped us into the people we are today in irreversible ways. We must go forward with excitement and anticipation, ready to embrace the limitless opportunities that await us. As we go, let us bring with us a desire for family, for authentic community in which we are real and vulnerable with others, where we strive to be understood and to understand.

Let us embrace those and the environment around us, no matter how small or big it may be, because you may find that the greatest blessings are just hidden underneath the surface. All you have to do is dig a little deeper find them. Class of 2018, I can’t wait to see where our passions lead us and what God has in store for each and every one of us.

Class of 2018, we made it.


Thank you,

Kaitlyn W.

Salutatorian Speaker


2018 Commencement Program

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