On Saturday, July 25 the St. John’s class of 2020 graduated with flying colors. While this year’s ceremony was postponed until July, it was still a joyous occasion for our graduates, their families, and the teachers and staff of St. John’s Lutheran School.
The ceremony began with a prelude and processional hymn accompanied on the piano by St. John’s music teacher, Mrs. Jurica. After an invocation led by Pastor Ehrhard, the class verse, Jeremiah 29:11, was read, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Following the verse, the eighth grade teacher, Mrs. Runge, welcomed the students and parents to the graduation ceremony. In her speech, she discussed how she had made many plans with her eighth graders for the end of the school year. They had planned to take a class trip and were going to host a recognition dinner. However, all of their plans changed when the pandemic hit and instead, they had to quickly adapt to virtual learning for the final months of the school year. Mrs. Runge went on to state that even though their plans fell through, God’s plans are never ruined. She quoted John 16:33, “In this world we will have trouble” and went on to say that because of our personal relationship with Christ, we do not have to dwell in the evil and sickness of this world. Mrs. Runge ended her speech by leaving the students with a four step practice for making plans which includes Pray, Love, Act, and Network.
After Mrs. Runge’s speech, a video slideshow was shown which included photos from the past year as well as images from the period of virtual learning. While the slideshow ran, the class song, “Glorious Unfolding” played in the background.
Next, the class salutatorian, Isaac Peñate, presented his speech. He recounted memories and thoughts about the class of 2020 as well as his own memories from entering high school prep and the changes that came with it. Although he was nervous about the changes, high school prep ended up being a positive change. Isaac concluded his speech by telling the class of 2020 that they are ready to embark on a new journey into high school.
Awards and recognitions were then presented by Mrs, Runge, Mrs. Franklin, Mr. Benedict, and Mrs. Jurica. Awards were given to students who excelled academically, spiritually, musically, and in extracurricular sports.
After the diplomas were awarded by Principal Green, Kaden Radcliff, the class valedictorian, began his speech. He spoke about his fellow classmates and how they each brought something unique to the class of 2020. He talked about how St. John’s was a great foundation for Christian education and that the class of 2020 is strong enough to build upon that foundation as they head into high school. Kaden ended his speech by saying that even though they didn’t finish in the way they wanted to, God has everything under control.
The ceremony ended with prayers and a benediction led by Pastor Ehrhard and the recessional hymn, “Go My Children, With My Blessing.”