SCA grads go forward in faith

Published 10:18 pm Monday, June 9, 2014

Commencement: Suffolk Christian Academy graduated 11 students this year. They include, from left: Noah Nickert, Alexis Metzgar, Shelby Edgell, Jennifer Rombs, Grace Mathis, Caitlin Hankins, Pauline Ferguson, McKenzie Green, Hannah Fagan, Caroline Atherholt-Brown and Jacob Davis. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)

Commencement: Suffolk Christian Academy graduated 11 students this year. They include, from left: Noah Nickert, Alexis Metzgar, Shelby Edgell, Jennifer Rombs, Grace Mathis, Caitlin Hankins, Pauline Ferguson, McKenzie Green, Hannah Fagan, Caroline Atherholt-Brown and Jacob Davis. (Titus Mohler/Suffolk News-Herald)

Suffolk Christian Academy ushered 11 graduates into the world during a ceremony on Saturday at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church that featured emotional student addresses and Virginia Delegate Glenn R. Davis (R-84th) as guest speaker.

Though commencement means the close-knit graduates will be going their separate ways, senior class president Caroline Atherholt-Brown said, “God has really placed His hands on our class,” and He would help to maintain the connection between them.

Davis affirmed the importance of long-held friendships as the first of four life lessons he shared with the seniors.

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“As you get older, the relationships that are the oldest are the most important ones to keep,” he said. He recalled it was having family and longtime friends with which to celebrate electoral victory that made the victory so special for him.

Valedictorian Noah Nickert highlighted in his speech how the people making up the group of graduates were all different but came together as a class.

He also noted the group’s four Heritage Members — Nickert, Hannah Fagan, Caitlin Hankins and Jennifer Rombs — who had been at the school from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Davis used a quote from celebrated professional football coach Vince Lombardi to convey his second life lesson: “I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours — his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear — is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle, victorious.”

Davis related this to the graduates’ fulfillment of their 12-year school commitment.

Ten of the graduates are headed to college, and one, Jacob Davis, will be joining the United States Air Force.

The group earned more than $40,000 in scholarships. Salutatorian Alexis Metzgar was also presented with the Robert Allen Jeffreys Memorial Christian Scholarship during Saturday’s ceremony.

In his third life lesson, Davis urged the graduates to not be afraid of failure, but to learn its value and be willing to fail enough times to gain the experience necessary to achieve success.

Last, he spoke on the importance of prayer. He said if he felt awkward bringing something to God in prayer, he learned that thing was probably not important. He also noted prayer provides clarity.

In her speech, Metzgar emphasized prayer when she praised SCA as “a place where we’re free to pray before a test,” and then jokingly added, “whether we studied for it or not.”

Nickert said the graduates had successfully weathered uncertain times at the high school. No teachers from their freshman year are still there, they experienced changes at the headmaster position and the school actually changed names during their time there.

Metzgar was forthright concerning her anxieties about life when she said, “Truthfully, I’m terrified of what the future holds.”

But she was equally straightforward in communicating the way by which she and her fellow graduates had been taught to successfully erase those fears and doubts — by trusting in the Lord.