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‘Carry our faith’

Suffolk Christian Academy valedictorian Emma VanDorn will attend college in Tennessee.

Suffolk Christian Academy valedictorian Emma VanDorn will attend college in Tennessee.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of five stories on the valedictorians of the five high schools in Suffolk. Look for the remainder of the series in future editions.

One day, Emma VanDorn wants to produce artists’ music and own her own record label.

“That’s my dream … but that’s a world away from now. No time soon,” said VanDorn, valedictorian of Suffolk Christian Academy’s Class of 2016.

VanDorn’s grade point average is 4.11, the highest in her close-knit senior class of 12. Suffolk Christian’s graduation ceremony is scheduled for 4 p.m. June 11 at the school’s Southside Baptist Church campus.

This fall, VanDorn will enroll in Middle Tennessee State University and work toward a bachelor’s degree in the recording industry, with a music business concentration.

“I can’t wait,” VanDorn said. Middle Tennessee State is in Murfreesboro, Tenn., about 35 miles outside of Nashville — often known as Music City U.S.A.

“I am excited, because music has always been a big part of my life,” said VanDorn. Although she plays both the guitar and piano, she has focused more on her vocals in recent years.

This week, VanDorn is completing her last couple of days of classes and preparing for the senior class trip to Florida’s Palm Coast next week.

So far, VanDorn said, a highlight of her senior year has been working at last fall’s class fundraiser — a yard sale — to raise money for the class trip. Her class raised about $1,200.

“It was fun … and all of us were together,” VanDorn said. “There was a lot of unity that day. That’s what makes it memorable.”

VanDorn, who has taken several online classes this year, said she is still pondering what pearls of wisdom to share with her classmates during graduation.

She expects to speak about the importance of keeping focused on God as the class moves into the “real” world.

“It’s important to keep that focus … and to be motivated by a desire to please God,” said VanDorn. “Even if we aren’t in a Christian environment, we need to carry our faith with us.”

VanDorn is the daughter of the school’s headmaster, Tamra VanDorn, and her husband, David VanDorn.