MIDDLEPORT — “Let your smile change the world; never let the world change your smile.”
Those were the words of graduate Abi Puariea, quoting her grandfather, on Friday evening as the Class of 2018 received their diplomas at Mid-Valley Christian School.
Puariea, McKensie Boso and Tyler Peyton received the diplomas as part of the ceremony.
Boso, who has attended the school her entire academic career, graduated with honors, having maintained a 4.0 GPA for her high school years.
Administrator Jennifer McKinney, who graduated from the school 20 years ago, addressed the graduates, giving each advice as they enter the next phase of their lives.
“Follow the path that God has laid for you,” McKinney told the graduates, noting that 20 years will go by fast. “Each one of you has a purpose.”
In her speech, Boso thanked the teachers, principal, and her parents for each of their roles in helping her reach her high school graduation.
“We have all learned a lot from being here,” said Boso.
“It’s been a long tough 12 years,” said Peyton, thanking his family for their support along the way.
Peyton recalled challenging his mom with his spelling words for homework and expressed gratitude to his father for the financial support which showed that “a quality education would benefit for my entire life.”
Turning to the teachers, Peyton noted that they had taught the students everything from “2+2 to algebra.”
“I am truly sorry for the extra gray hairs I gave you,” he told the teachers.
To the student coming behind the Class of 2018, Peyton said, “Enjoy and learn as much as possible.”
“Class of 2018, we rock,” concluded Peyton.
Puariea was the final graduate to address those in attendance. The graduate spoke of her struggle with her education and finding her identity during her high school years.
Coming to Mid-Valley Christian for her senior year allowed her to find not only her identity, but purpose, spirit and lasting peace through God, Puariea said. Rather than not wanting to go to school, she said she looked forward to coming to school Monday through Friday.
Puariea thanked her mom (also a teacher at the school), McKinney and secretary Maggie Biggs for the love they had shown to her and the values they had taught her. She also thanked her dad for his support and her friends at Mid-Valley Christian for showing “what true friends should be like.”
The ceremony also included a time of family prayer led by Pastor Michael Foreman, along with board members of the school.
Following the prayer two students sang “My Wish” as a slide show of photos of the graduates played.
Board members for Mid-Valley Christian School are Matthew Lyons, Dan Swab, Dr. Richard Sargent, Kathy Rice, Norma Torres and Melissa Dailey. Jennifer McKinney is the administrator, with teachers Jade Nutter, Nanette Swab, Judy Sargent, Tami Putman, Miriam Polley and Melissa Puariea.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.