SCA adds four alumni

Published 9:55 pm Monday, June 12, 2017

Four students became Suffolk Christian Academy alumni during commencement ceremonies at Southside Baptist Church on Saturday.

Friends and family joined SCA teachers and staff at the church to honor the four graduates. The afternoon featured a moving commencement speech and emotional farewells from the graduates themselves.

“The many memories we have shared in our four years of high school have served to create bonds of friendship that will last well beyond our years at SCA,” said Class of 2017 president and salutatorian Vivian Waddell.

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The graduates were the first class at SCA to present a memorial gift for students and faculty, Waddell said. They donated a handcrafted bench for the campus that “will provide rest for teachers and students alike in the coming years.”

“It is our hope that each time the bench is utilized, our class, the smallest class to graduate from Suffolk Christian Academy, will be remembered,” she said.

Jacquelyn Fowler’s valedictorian speech found the humor in her small graduating class.

“While some students might have bragging rights of being in the top 25th percentile of their class, I can truthfully say I am the top 25th percentile of my class,” Fowler said.

She assured the audience that having such a small class size wasn’t a burden and that the quartet had grown close during the last four years.

“No matter how small we are or how short this ceremony will be, I have full confidence that each of these graduates will go on to do great things in the world,” she said.

She offered advice for her fellow graduates: Manage your time and priorities, be ambitious, and never stop learning or forget where you came from.

“Wherever we end up in life, in whatever measure of success, we should want to represent Suffolk Christian Academy as a place that served as our foundation of academic, mental and spiritual growth,” she said.

Dave Velloney, senior associate pastor at River Oak Church in Chesapeake, was the commencement speaker. The former Army lawyer and Regent University School of Law professor shared some wisdom he picked up in his travels worldwide.

He urged the graduates to stay on the right path and follow God’s plan for each of them. He told the graduates to have fun, make good choices and “always play for Jesus.”

“That applies to sports and all of life,” he said.

He praised the families of the graduates for their support and sacrifices. His speech was followed by emotional slideshows of each graduate growing from young children to the graduating class they were on Saturday.

“Never underestimate your ability to be effective and make a difference,” Velloney said. “You’re never too small to make a difference.”

Fowler will attend Virginia Tech to study business, and Waddell will attend Tidewater Community College before transferring to University of Virginia to study psychology. Matthew Willis will also enroll at Tidewater Community College to study mechanical engineering.

Lauren Powell will pursue a professional career in animal control. She will work toward her pharmacy technician license through her position at CVS, and get experience at local animal hospitals until she is old enough to enroll in police training for animal control.