Evangel celebrates graduates at commencement

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – Evangel Christian School celebrated the 142 students that completed the homeschool program at their 17th graduation ceremony on May 15 at the Church at Brook Hills.

Despite an interruption from a rogue fire alarm, the ceremony was well-attended and featured sentimental moments as the students accepted their diplomas and looked forward to their future as adults.

“We are here to celebrate the accomplishments of the ECS Class of 2021 and rejoice in God’s faithfulness to each of them,” said Administrator Bill Snuggs.

He then introduced the class’s valedictorian Amelia Palmer, who has attended the school for her entire academic career. She had the distinction of completing high school in three years and participated and led many programs that she took part in during her time at ECS.

Palmer went on to open the commencement ceremony with a prayer thanking God for helping each student make it to this point in their lives.

“As we are celebrating this amazing class, I just wanted to take a minute to honor the lord and his faithfulness during the last 18-ish years of our lives,” Palmer said. “Our hearts are just overflowing with gratitude, humility and joy. Let us use our gifts to build each other up to encourage the body and show the world your character. May the world be attracted to the gospel by how we live.”

Salutatorian Tess Wear had the privilege of giving the welcome address to the parents, students, faculty and other guests at the commencement.

“I am so honored to be standing here today,” Wear said. “I am honestly shocked that this many people showed up to a home school graduation. Having everybody here is a testament not only to how much you care about us, but also to how much Evangel has impacted our lives. Thank you to every single one of the teachers, administrators, sponsors and coaches who have made this whole thing possible.”

Wear went on to talk about the hard work that she knew each student put in to make it to this point.

“You never have to lose hope for a better future. We have survived the dark night of high school,” Wear said. “we can look to the rest of our lives with eagerness and optimism, or we can set our sights even further. Congratulations Class of 2021, you have a lot of things to look forward to.”

One of the traditions during Evangel’s commencement ceremonies is to award the Lightning Scholarship, worth $1,500, to a student. This year’s winner was Senior Class President Matthew Macomb.

“The Lighting Scholarship was established in 2004 to honor and thank the graduate who has most demonstrated his or her dedication to the furthering of the goals and vision of ECS through service to its mission,” Snuggs said. “The recipient is that senior who is recognized to be most perceptive of the needs of others in the school, and concerned with meeting those needs. Grayson Matthew Macomb is the recipient of this year’s award. Matt is a community builder, and was likely one of the first people to welcome you if you were new to Evangel at any point in the last five years.”

After the seniors received their diplomas, members of the Class of 2021 participated in the tradition of “passing the bolt,” a symbol of the school, on to the next class.

“We hope this lightning bolt serves as a reminder to remain in God’s light, finish strong and blaze forth through high school a year from now,” said Class Secretary Emma Brooks.

Often graduations will be filled with speeches discussing the bittersweet nature of moving on, but there was no mention of that at Evangel’s ceremony. Everyone, graduates and guests included, seemed to look forward to the future with pride and optimism for what awaits them in the world.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.