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SCA holds in-person graduation

Suffolk Christian Academy held an in-person graduation ceremony on Saturday to celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2020.

The graduation ceremony took place at Southside Baptist Church, where the academy uses classrooms to meet. The commencement celebrated the student’s accomplishments and encouraged them to impact the world for Christ in the praise of His glory.

The 11th commencement ceremony for SCA looked different than past years due to COVID-19 regulations. At the door, temperatures were checked. Only a limited number of guests were allowed for each student, and they sat in their own section that was at a distance from the others. The ceremony was dismissed by families to ensure there would be close contact while exiting.

“I never thought I’d see this day, but I definitely didn’t think I would see it like this,” said Heather Pearson, class valedictorian.

Pearson reflected on the memories the class shared and thanked them for their help in shaping the person she is today.

“If I could give you all one word of advice before we leave today, it would be never back down from where you stand and never forget who you are,” said Pearson. “I can say with confidence that the class of 2020 is the most stubborn, most strong and most independent people I have ever met, and I admire that about all of you.”

Pearson ended her speech with one last encouragement, “here’s to moving on, growing up, and pushing forward.”

Salutatorian Cassidy Hayes also began her speech noting the different year the class has faced.

“I’m glad we could all be here on this exciting day, even if it was not exactly how we imagined it would be,” said Hayes.

Hayes thanked the class for teaching her how to get along with people different from herself. She noted that the class had come so far together, and she will miss each one of them.

“To the class of 2020, I hope you all continue to mature in your walk with the Lord no matter where life takes you. He truly is the only way to find satisfaction here on earth. Always remember where you came from and always remember your roots here at SCA.”

Hayes left the class with a quote from C.S. Lewis to remind them that there are far better things ahead than what they are leaving behind.

The commencement speaker was in the form of a virtual message from the broker of Cross Realty, Harry Cross III.

“We need to stop in this moment and be thankful for what you have achieved and celebrate with you,” said Cross. “God made each of you special and unique. There’s only one you, and God knows you and has an individual life adventure just waiting for you.”

Cross led the graduates through a metaphor of packing their life’s suitcase. He noted that no matter their next step in life, there are things they will always have with them. The suitcase is filled with items such as the robe of God’s love, comfortable pajamas of parent’s love, socks of friends and family’s love, a box of the church that plugs into the light of Jesus, and large rocks that are burdens of this world. There is a small space left for personal items such as Bible verses they have memorized.

He reminded them at the top of the suitcase is written grace as a reminder of God’s gift to them. Hope, faith and love are in the side pocket for quick access.

“Now close the life journey spiritual suitcase with abundant love just for you and pick it up,” said Cross. “You will find it to be light and a joy to take everywhere you go in life. You are prepared and have in your spiritual suitcase all you need for the next step, the step after that, and all the ones to come. You will always be surrounded by love. You cannot lose this suitcase; you may forget to open it, but you can’t lose it. It travels with you always.”

The class of 2020 received $890,000 worth of scholarships, the highest in SCA history. Eight students graduated with a GPA of 4.0 or higher. Five students were recognized as Heritage Members, meaning that they have been at SCA since kindergarten.

Graduates were Tanner Alexander, Hannah Baines, Margaret Copeland, Alexander Feeney, Cody Ferguson, Bailey Fields, Ethan Griffin, Cassidy Hayes, Brooke Johnson, Malachi Knight, Avery Olson, and Heather Pearson.