KCS graduates class of 2017
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – For Kingwood Christian School Valedictorian Garrett Landry, the blueprint for success for him and his fellow graduates has already been made clear.
“Our future is still being written,” Landry said. “Jesus led the best version of life. Why would we not want to do the same with our lives?”
Landry and the other 24 members of the KCS class of 2017 took a major step toward achieving their future goals and beginning the next chapter in their lives on May 25, as they walked across the stage at Kingwood Church to receive their high school diplomas.
“We are a powerhouse of innovation and creativity. Fellow graduates, always remember who you are and where you came from,” Landry said. “Get lit by the Lord, and bring light to this dark and broken world.”
Fellow valedictorian Hunter Cunningham encouraged the graduates to strive to reach their full potential after striking out into life after high school.
“Friendship is a valuable gift to be cherished long into the future. The common thread we all have is that we want to strive for the best in the future,” Cunningham said. “All we have is a future. Let’s make the most of it.”
KCS salutatorians Kaitlyn Tornatore and Jared Rushing also shared words of inspiration with their classmates.
“Remember to laugh and enjoy the little moments in life, because they are the most important,” Tornatore said. “Remember to always appreciate the people in your life, because you can always learn from someone.”
Rushing said his classmates, who collectively earned nearly a half-million dollars in scholarship offers, have become “like a second family” to him over their years at Kingwood.
“Today is the culmination of hard work and dedication,” Rushing said. “On a day like this, it’s important to acknowledge all the people who helped us along the way.”
During the ceremony, the class read a poem explaining each student’s path to graduation, and each graduate presented roses to their family members in the audience.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who served as the event’s keynote speaker, encouraged the graduates to lean on their faith when faced with obstacles.
“At some point in your life, you’re going to have some major obstacles to overcome, and you’re going to have some setbacks,” Merrill said. “I believe the way you deal with those obstacles is by having a personal relationship with the Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
“If you put your faith and trust in him, you will find the strength to face those obstacles,” he added.