Westminster graduates 32 in weekend ceremony

NORTH SHELBY – The Westminster School at Oak Mountain celebrated its Class of 2020 in an outdoor commencement ceremony on the morning of Saturday, May 16.

With their family members spread out behind them on the Upper School soccer field, the 32 members of the school’s senior class received their diplomas after reflecting on the experiences that filled the days, months and years leading up to graduation.

“Growing up with you these past 13 years has been my favorite thing,” Rebekah Anderson said to her classmates in her valedictorian address. “I’m so blessed to call you all my friends, and I can see God’s hand in each of your lives.”

Anderson noted highlights from each school year, such as an eventful trip to Busch Gardens and celebrating Westminster’s first-ever girls soccer state championship in 2019.

“I thank God every day for giving me such an amazing, kind and talented group of people to go through Westminster with,” Anderson said. “You all have taught me so much about friendship and showing Christ’s love and choosing joy regardless of the circumstances, and I am deeply grateful for the lasting impact that you have made on my life. Always remember these friendships and the home you have here.”

Anderson said she is “so proud” of her classmates, especially in how they coped with the COVID-19 pandemic altering the last part of their senior year.

“You have handled the challenges that have been thrown at us in these last few weeks with grace and joy, making the best of this situation like you have every other tough spot that we’ve been in,” Anderson said. “Even quarantine with you has been fun, and you’ve handled this so well.”

Salutatorian Michael Luster also thanked his classmates for their impact on his life.

“The love we have for each other is real,” Luster said. “It’s not for the sake of appearances. I’m so grateful to have been a part of it.”

Luster said he is grateful for what the Westminster faculty has done for him, as well.

“You guys poured into me, you helped raise me, you made me who I am, you value the things that I value, you showed me the love of Jesus and you helped me realize how wonderful he is,” Luster said. “I’m so grateful for the outlook that I have, for the outlook that we all have, on life. Life makes sense, it’s purposeful, and even when it doesn’t make as much sense, you taught us who to go to and how to trust.”

In his charge to the graduates, Dale Carrell implored them to think of the word “remember” as they leave their teachers, coaches and each other to start a new chapter of life.

“Seniors, there are many things that you can remember, but this one I want you to think about: Who was with you the entire time,” Carrell said. “Your parents, your teachers and the person of Jesus Christ. He was with you the entire time.”

The members of Westminster’s Class of 2020 are: Rebekah Elizabeth Anderson, William Fields Ankenbrandt, Samuel Jacob Bradford, Sarah Frances Click, Olivia Lauren Davis, Cole Patrick Eddins, Ethan Campbell Ellerbusch, John Andrew Newman Fulcher, Megan Hope Gache, Sarah Elizabeth Giadrosich, Katelyn Grace Gilson, Mary Catherine Janice Griffith, Anna Kaitlyn Hoaglund, Maxwell Bishop Hunsaker, Dylane Thomas Hurd, Hallie Annette Jones, Campbell Phelps Lemons, Caroline Elizabeth Lund, Hannah Katherine Lusk, Michael Reed Luster, Arden Grace McCullough, Payton Milne Metcalf, Cole Joshua Ray, John Morris Richardson, Jeremiah McCord Sachs, Evelyn Elizabeth Smith, John Cooper Sullivan, Arjun Matthew Varadhan, Virginia Allison Welch, Anna Grace Wesson, Morgan Elizabeth White and Matthew Edward Wilson.