At 32, biggest class leaves Wayne Christian School
By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on May 26, 2013 1:50 AM
Wayne Christian School graduate Hunter Timmerman hugs his father, Miles, and mother, June, presenting her with a rose after receiving his diploma Saturday morning.
For many of the students in the Wayne Christian School Class of 2013, Saturday morning was a bittersweet time. For a large portion of the class, it was truly the end of an era, one that began in kindergarten or earlier. But even for those who had only come for their high school years, leaving such a close knit group of 32 students -- the largest of the school's 26 graduating classes -- wasn't easy.
"It's both happy and sad," said Katie Caviness, explaining her tears as she received her diploma. "We're never all going to be here together again, and that just kind of hit me in that moment. I love these guys."
That love and closeness was evident as each graduate had recorded a message for their family, teachers and classmates that played as they received their diplomas. Many of the messages spoke of adventures, shared laughs and shared tears -- each one producing knowing smiles and nods.
In their speeches, the four salutatorians and valedictorians -- two each -- reminisced about bus trips, teachers, prom, playing on the playground in elementary school, getting in trouble in middle school, and, from co-salutatorian Marianna Gray, the excitement among the girls about no longer having to wear khaki pants every day.
But the point of mentioning so many memories, said co-salutatorian Brittney Kornegay, is just that -- they are memories the class has made together.
"Thank you, most of all, to my classmates," she said. "I am proud to be graduating with so many amazing individuals. During our time together you have made me laugh, you have challenged the way that I think about things, you have helped me grow as a person, and you have made school a much more enjoyable place to be. You will always have a special place in my heart."
"It's crazy, because you get to know everybody," said class co-president Danielle Gentry as she stood in the receiving line after being handed her diploma. "A lot of us have been together since kindergarten. It's like you're leaving your family behind."
They did not leave, though, without some words of advice.
Miss Gray cautioned her classmates to follow Mark Twain's advice and "Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions" -- as well as her own to "always remember to keep Christ the center of your life."
And a Bible verse that was shared twice, by both co-valedictorians Amy Clarke and Molly Glover, reminded their fellow graduates that even though they may have an idea of what they want to do at college or in their careers, to always be open to the direction of the Lord -- "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails" (Proverbs 19:21).
Of course those words also were meant to be a comfort to the parents in attendance, many of whom will be watching their children leave in the coming months and head off to college.
"I'm very proud of her," said Kim Caviness of her daughter Katie, who is headed to Regent University in Virginia Beach. "We are very thankful the Lord provided a way she could come to Wayne Christian. I'm looking forward to seeing what He has planned for her and what she goes to do next."