Mountainside grads urged to embrace change

SCHROON LAKE - The auditorium was filled to capacity on June 13, as the 11 members of Mountainside Christian Academy Class of 2009 made their way to the stage amid the strains of Pomp and Circumstance.

The graduation ceremony began the same way that the school day has begun for the students for the past 12 years, with the pledge to the American flag, the pledge to the Bible and the pledge to the Christian flag.

The Rev. David Peterson welcomed parents, students and guests to the evening and delivered the invocation.

Principal Constance Phillips spoke to the class and announced that this year,the traditional word given to describe each graduating class, was "free-spirited." She explained that this word had both positive and negative connotations and that they should embrace the strong, positive sense that they were all leaders with bright creative ideas.

Wm. Henry Henson, salutatorian, urged his classmates to understand their responsibility in the world. He challenged the audience to pay careful attention to authority, duty, our fellow man, ourselves and God. He commented that when humans neglect their personal responsibility in any one of these areas, that conflict and troubles arise. He admonished all to set the example and live responsible lives.

Elizabeth Sewall, valedictorian, asked her classmates to embrace the many changes they will experience in the coming months with an attitude of expectancy and anticipation. She recounted how throughout the past 18 years they had learned to accept change on many different levels in their lives and that by now they had become experts at change. She reminded the graduates that while most things in life do change, their relationship to God is a permanent thing and that God never changes. She concluded her speech by reminding her classmates that they had the potential to change their world.

Phillips presented the candidates for graduation to Peterson. He ceremonially accepted the recommendation of the principal and accorded the candidates the status of graduate. Diplomas were presented to each graduate by Don Reichard, the chairman of the Deacon Board at Mountainside Bible Chapel and Peterson.

Following the graduation ceremony, a cake and punch reception was given in honor of the graduates. A video was shown highlighting each senior and collectively their senior year.

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