Sixteen graduate from Grace Christian Academy last Friday

Published 4:50 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Grace Christian Academy handed diplomas to 16 seniors last Friday night at the Kirbo Center.

The GCA class of 2019 bid its farewells to the school, thanking parents, friends and mentors for the amazing years they spent together.

More than 75 percent of the class qualified for the Hope Scholarship, and more than 30 percent will receive the Zell Miller scholarship. The class had 11 honors graduates.

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Following a processional of the graduates into the auditorium, senior Manjote Singh welcomed the audience, followed by Michael Austinson leading the room in prayer. Pledges to the flag, the Christian flag and the Bible were led by Shane William Kornmeier, DeAndre Rashad Rogers and Zarek Christian Sterneman.

Introduced by James Park Goodson, IV, Salutatorian Ruth Marie Carraway expressed her excitement for her and her fellow classmates as they moved into the future. She told them it was OK to have shortcomings.

“The world is not always going to be fair,” said Carraway. “Life will throw things at you one after another. You may not be great at everything, and that’s OK. Get up, brush yourself off and try again, and try not to make the same mistakes over and over. Take accountability for what you do, and don’t live in the shadow of what you have done wrong.”

Most importantly, she told her class to look to Jesus Christ for hope and happiness.

Senior Class President Jeb Michael Smith passed the Benaiah Medallion to Sarah Griffin, wishing her luck as she led the next class through their final year at GCA.

Chasen Dean Wood announced the class of 2019’s academic successes, followed by Jaylen Treyvon Jones sharing the athletic accomplishments by he and his peers.

The GCA Chorus performed two numbers during the ceremony, “Walk Humbly With Your God” and “A Million Dreams.”

Gabrielle Nicole Hardee introduced Valedictorian Olive Grace Penela, who graciously thanked her family and friends for their support through her high school career.

“Every valedictorian will stand in front of you and tell you to shoot for the stars, strive for excellence make your make in this world and pursue your dreams,” said Penela. “And yes, you should do all of those things when you leave GCA. But I know I am talking to 17 very smart people, and they already know to do that. So the advice I am going to give to you is to form lasting relationships with friends, develop a deeper relationship with God and surround yourself with positive people who want what’s best for you.”

GCA Graduate and doctor E. Jonathan Perry IV provided the graduation address. He encouraged the class of 2019 to remember the people who helped shape them and to stay humble but have confidence.

“Some of you will go on to college, grad school and beyond,” said Perry. “Some of you might decide to have the hardest, most rewarding job there is, being a stay-at-home parent. The truth is it doesn’t really matter what you do over the next decade of your life, as long as you do it with the only true God. Take a deep breath, remember who you are, call your mama, and go forward with confidence.”