One of the highlights of every CCS graduation is the valedictorian’s and salutatorian’s speeches. This year our salutatorian was Polly Payne and our valedictorian was Lee Dickinson. These two students exemplify the kind of young men and women that a classical Christian education strives to cultivate.
Seniors, today is the day. Today is the day when we get handed a piece of paper in a nice display and go out into the world. When we go out into the world, we get to put our mark on everything we touch. Now thankfully we do not do this in the same manner as dogs, but we still put our mark on everything we touch. This mark appears differently for each of us. Some of us are going to learn about the government while others are learning how to aid the sick. And a few want to study in other countries, learning a new language and culture. But no matter what we do in the world, it will be for the better; God says in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you…plans for good and not for evil, to give you a hope and a future.” All of our actions will be blessed by God, helping us grow in life and closer to Him.
Now as we are going out into the world, I believe we have all heard countless times the phrases “make sure you keep your grades up; don’t skip class; make sure you set your alarm so you don’t oversleep.” All of these are great pieces of advice, for scripture warns us about slacking off and not doing our best: “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, a want like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:9-11). The workload in life will only grow and become harder and harder. It will be so tempting to just skip class or call in sick from work. There is one piece of advice which helps us from becoming this sluggard, and this piece of advice is my commission to you seniors. We hear it, but do not normally think a lot about. With this piece of advice, you can tackle the world for all its worth. This is an important piece of advice because each of us will have to heed it weather we want to or not. Hopefully, you want to and make the best of it. It’s the reason why we like being around others; it creates the feelings of trust between two very different individuals. Those who participate in this have many names: brothers or sisters, fathers or mothers, friends, neighbors, my-BFF, my-home-slice, my dog, my-man, my-bro. We even give them fancy titles such as “Oh look, it’s the man of the hour, the tower of power, the one too sweet to be sour.” Hopefully you know what I am talking about. I am talking about relationships. And more specifically, family.
You see, within God himself, there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is a family. And He has extended that family to us! 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” We get to partake in life with Him and enjoy every moment of it. Seniors, you have a direct family with whom you live life. But there is a bigger family you are a part of. Look at the people sitting next to you. In terms of relationships, you call those people sitting around you friends. But I want to tell you that they are more than that. Proverbs 18: 24 says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” When you go out into the world, you will meet many more people who will be a part of your life. There will be some who come and go, but there will be others who you invest a lot of time in. These people will share their lives with you: Their joys and sorrows, their praises and their tears. My commission to you seniors is this: create strong, heathy relationships so you may do your best work together, glorifying God through it all.
We made it through High School because of these relationships. A lot of us were here before High School started, so we had some sort of relationship to start. For those who were new, they had at least 46 new faces they had to learn about and either become friends or enemies too. The fact that we are still here today means that we chose to grow those relationships with each other and become friends. In fact, we even got to become friends with our teachers. I mean look at what we did to Mr. Halbrook’s room on Senior Skip Day. Sure we wanted to be creepy and have picture of Seniors at his home in Fuquay, find an album from his High School band, make manikins of him, his wife, and his three children. But you did it because you enjoy the teacher and want to have fun with him. In High School, there have been a lot, and I mean a lot of difficult times, but because we helped each other on the way, we have arrived here today, strutting our stuff, and showing the world what amazing individuals we are.
Now, we are about to become strangers to the world around us. We need to find those relationships that will strengthen us and help us through life. God knows we cannot do it on our own, so he strategically puts certain people into our lives to assist us when in need. Seniors, you are loved by everyone in this room. Your parents sent you to this school because they love you. The teachers here love you. And more importantly, God on High loves each and every one of us. So now, it is our turn to go out into the world and love those around us, learning how big our family really is. Thank you.