Hope Christian School holds graduation

By MACKENZEE SIMMS | Staff Writer

 PELHAM – With family and friends in the audience, students enrolled in the Hope Christian School donned caps and gowns for their graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 17 at the Church of the Highlands Riverchase campus.

In 1989, parents Rev. Wayne and Connie Atchison founded the Hope Christian School to serve as a home education community, rooted in the Christian faith. Hope Christian is accredited through the National Association of Private Schools and offers special resources to students.

“We count it an honor and a privilege to be a part of your lives,” Connie said. “By God’s grace and by your prayers, uplifting us and giving us encouragement, we can stand here today and be a part of your life. We are so grateful and thankful for each one of you—grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers and everyone that has had a part of our seniors’ lives.”

With 84 graduates gracing the stage, the theme of Hope Christian School’s 2024 graduation was “Abide,” based on the bible verse, John 15:4.

Salutatorian and class chaplain, William Henry, spoke to his fellow graduates about what it means to abide in Christ.

“Our success is not defined by our own strength or the awards that we receive in life,” Henry said. “It is only defined by our fellowship with our savior. Even if we think we know what we want to do with our lives, it may or may not be His desire. So even to those of us that do know, our focus must always remain on His will. Be sensitive to the calling God has placed on your hearts.”

Henry also reflected on his experience as a graduate.

“I was asked earlier today, what was the best graduation gift anyone could receive or give,” Henry said. “But the longer I thought about it, I realized none can compare to the gift that has already been given to us. This gift has eternal value. This gift has been given to me graciously, and is extended to everyone in this auditorium as well—the good news of Jesus Christ, the forgiveness of sins and the saving power of His grace.”

In addition to the speech from Henry, Valedictorian Bridget Monson gave a recitation and Rev. Wayne Atchison gave advice to the senior class.

“If you want to produce fruit in your life that is beneficial not only to you, but to others, it takes time,” Wayne said. “It takes time to mature to understand to gain wisdom to gain an understanding in order to accomplish that fruit.”

When it came time to present the graduates with their diplomas, Hope Christian School invited parents to the stage. In this ceremony, it was the parents that presented their children with their diplomas, rather than school administrators.

“The reason why we do this is that Hope Christian School is just a facilitator for homeschooling,” Connie said. “We didn’t do the hard work. The parents did the hard work. The grandparents did the hard work. We’re here just to be a conduit and to have the privilege of knowing each of our families.”

In addition to diplomas, select students were recognized with special awards.

“The Faithfulness and Leadership Award is given to the seniors who have contributed joyfully in the area of faithfulness and spiritual leadership in their school, their community and their church,” Connie said.

 

The students that received the Faithfulness and Leadership Award included:

-Wesley Nolan Cupp

-Kathryn Gail Madison

-Andrew Tanner Paul

-Ian Sebastien Supplee

 

“The Testimony and Influence Award is given to the seniors having an outstanding Christian testimony and exerting the best Christian influence,” Connie said.

 

The students that received the Testimony and Influence Award included:

-Zarah Alexandria Lantrip

-Jenna Rose Peebles

-Abby Elizabeth Tidwell

-William Patrick Watts

 

“The Dedication and Service Award is given to the seniors who have exhibited a servant’s heart by word and deed in their community, church and school,” Connie said.

 

The students that received the Dedication and Service Award included:

-Sarah Amelia Priscila Batten

-Sarah Jessica Kelly

-Isaiah Luke Syx

-Zachary Drake Vega

 

The class valedictorians included:

-Samuel J. Coleman

-Daniel Joseph Crump

-Matthew Christian Monk

-Bridget Anne Monson

-Samuel John Sturdivant

 

The class salutatorians included:

-Andrew Bryant Beatty

-William Richard Henry

-Ella Grace Lunsford

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