Last updated: September 06. 2013 6:14PM - 39 Views

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[caption width="250" caption=" Delaware Christian School graduating senior Ashleigh Hovda accepts her diploma from her grandfather Steve Hovda, a teacher at the school. Ashleigh Hovda is also the first of the grandchildren to graduate from high school. (Gazette | Melissa Mackey) "][/caption]


Staff Writer

Fourteen seniors from Delaware Christian School completed their educations with diplomas Friday night, a smaller graduating class than years past.

Several hundred parents, teachers and friends joined the seniors to share in the accomplishment. The group said a prayer, and the DCS Sing Out and Rejoice (S.O.A.R.) choir provided three musical numbers.

It was announced that two members of the class are going onto military service — Joshua Blakemore, United States Marines, and Simon Plazolles-Hayes, United States Army — to which the crowd gave a loud applause.

“I appreciate their sense of patriotism, and that they’re willing to put their long-term careers aside to serve their country,” DCS Administrator Gordon McDonald told the crowd.

Of the 14 graduating seniors, 10 had attended Delaware Christian Schools throughout their educational careers, McDonald said.

Many in the group excelled in academics: Thomas Graves, a valedictorian, is a National Merit Scholar. He plans to attend Cedarville University to study pharmacy. He is a recipient of the President’s Education Award, in which students must earn a 3.5 or higher grade point average and at least an 85th percentile on the ACT or SAT tests.

David Hixson, who was the speaking class valedictorian, was awarded with the Swartz Memorial Scholarship from Joelle Buchanan, the granddaughter of Arthur J. and Martha C. Swartz, the award’s namesakes. It is awarded to a senior with an interest in music. Hixson plans to attend Indiana Wesleyan University to study biology and pre-med with a minor in music.

During his speech, Hixson encouraged his lifelong friends to live their lives with Jesus, then closed with the song, “In Christ Alone,” on the piano. He is also a President’s Education Award recipient.

Other valedictorians, also receiving the President’s Education Award are Heidi Evans, who plans to attend Indiana Wesleyan University with an undecided major, and Timothy McCullough who plans to attend the University of Cincinnati to study physical therapy.

Class President Brandon Carroll, who plans to attend Pensacola Christian College, also addressed the crowd. He offered thanks to the parents, faculty, family supporters and God.

“Everything we’ve done in the past year has been done thanks to God,” Carroll said. “It is by His grace that we made it to the platform tonight.”

Carroll told his class that they should keep trying to be the best at everything, bring glory to God while doing their best, be a light to the world and remember to walk with God daily.

Kary Oberbrunner of Powell Grace Brethren Church provided the keynote address to the graduates, telling the class to first answer the begging question, “Who am I?” before answering the other question in their hearts, “Why am I here?” and “Where should I go?” After answering the “Who am I?” question, the rest will fall into place, Oberbrunner said.

Graduating senior Ashleigh Hovda, who plans to attend the University of Kentucky, had a big smile on her face Friday night as she received her diploma from her grandfather Steve Hovda, who is a teacher with the school.

A recipient of the President’s Academic Achievement Award, Ashleigh Hovda is the first graduating grandchild in Steve Hovda’s family. He put four of his children through Delaware Christian Schools, he said.

Other students receiving a President’s Academic Achievement Award were: Jason Art and Michael Kapraly. Art plans to attend Bob Jones University, and Kapraly plans to attend Cedarville University.

The other graduates were Laura Bush, who plans to attend the University of Cincinnati; Aric French, who plans to attend Liberty University; Hugh Kerins, who plans to attend Ohio Wesleyan University; and Julie Purdin, who plans to attend Columbus State Community College.

Graduating with honors were Art, Graves, Hixson, Hovda, Kapraly and McCullough.

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