HURON — James Valley Christian School graduates were encouraged to keep God first in their lives during commencement exercises Sunday afternoon.
“Continue to develop your skills and your abilities,” said guest speaker and former teacher Alan Palsma. “Try to do everything possible for the Lord’s purpose and he will help you.”
The ceremony included the concert band and senior high choir, as well as a song sung by the 15-member senior class.
Cassandra Koel, who spoke along with classmate, Miranda Blom, thanked teachers and parents for the time invested in the Class of 2017.
“Every mile was worth it,” Koel said.
She mentioned each classmate, pointing out their strengths and funny quirks.
“We put the ‘pro’ in procrastination,” Koel said. Laughing she added, “At 51 detentions — our class holds the record for that, too.”
“Keep your eyes on Christ,” Koel said. “Inside these walls a Christian life is the norm. That won’t be the case when we leave.
“Take time to read the Bible daily, and remember, God is our safe haven.”
Blom told her class and the assembled audience of parents and guests that there are no shortcuts to a fulfilling life, referring to the Class Motto by Beverly Sills, “There are no shortcuts to any places worth going.”
“That quote speaks volumes to us for our future,” Blom said. “Matthew 7:13-14 says the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life.
“When we go to college we may want to compromise to have a fun time,” she said. “The path may seem attractive and shiny and fun, but the consequences will be devastation.
“The path of sin is a short cut,” she added.
At James Valley they had an opportunity to study the Bible and Christianity.
“Teachers dedicate their lives to serving the Lord through serving us,” Blom said. “I’m grateful you held us to higher standards.”
Blom said the trials and tribulations they face help mature their faith.
“Let’s be some of the few that stay on the narrow path,” Blom said. “It leads to Heaven, that is definitely a place worth going.”
Palsma focused on the many achievements and records the JVCS Class of 2017 had made or broken through involvement in sports and fine arts activities.
“We think of ‘commencement’ as achievements of this class,” Palsma said. “We think of that as the end, with diplomas and Bibles you will walk out as graduates. The dictionary says the act of commencing is a beginning.
“That’s what we’re doing today,” he added.
Palsma encouraged them to develop a strong prayer life and learn to appreciate and apply what they have learned over the years in the classroom.
“You have established a foundation for your future,” he said. “Live out life in the joy of the Lord and allow his teachings to guide you.
“Be faithful, and I can promise you a great deal of success,” Palsma added.