Hope Christian grads encouraged to seek wisdom

BIRMINGHAM – Excited family members and friends packed the sanctuary of Briarwood Presbyterian Church on Thursday, May 18, for the 27th commencement ceremony for Hope Christian School’s 2017 graduating class of about 120 students.

The ceremony opened with the presentation of the colors by the Hope Christian School Civil Air Patrol and the Pledge of Allegiance. After a word of prayer and a song by the school choir, valedictorian Jacob Harris addressed his fellow graduates saying that as HCS students, they have been given a profound gift – “knowledge of the truth and fear of the Lord.”

“As we graduate, remember that we are Christ’s ambassadors of truth for this lost generation,” he said.

Harris is one of the school’s eight valedictorians and seven salutatorians. Connie Atchison, who founded the school with husband Pastor Wayne Atchison, said students who earn an ACT score of 29 or above are named valedictorians. Students with an ACT score of 25-28 are named salutatorians.

“They’ve worked very hard for these honors,” Connie Atchison said.

The class of 2017 received more than $1.6 million in scholarships, she added.

Just before the diplomas were given out, school superintendent Wayne Atchison addressed the students and challenged them to seek wisdom.

“Wisdom is the appropriate use of knowledge and they way you gain wisdom is through experience,” he said.

He told students that their experiences and their results will be controlled by the company they keep.

“You become like the company you keep,” he said. “What company are you keeping? What influences you?”

He encouraged students to develop a personal board of directors – people whose behavior they observe and look up to as role models.

“By looking at their lives – it helps you succeed,” he said. “Some of the people on my board of directors don’t event know they’re on my board. It’s not something that you have to tell them.”

Although the world is constantly changing, Atchison reminded the graduates that God’s word has never changed.

“If you follow the Lord’s way, you will have success in every area,” he said.

Each student’s parents presented them with their diploma as they walked across the stage. Connie Atchison said it’s because HCS parents are the ones who do most of the hard work to help their children become high school graduates.

Thursday’s graduates will join about 2,000 other HCS alumni.