GALLIPOLIS — Ohio Valley Christian School added 10 more graduates to its collection of alumni over nearly four decades of existence Saturday as the 35th graduating class received their diplomas.
Saturday’s ceremony was the 35th commencement in the school’s 39-year history, and its total graduates over that time swelled to 379 with the addition of the Class of 2016.
After the traditional Pomp and Circumstance, the 10 members of the Class of 2016 marched into the sanctuary of Gallipolis First Baptist Church. Pastor Alvis Pollard gave the welcome and invocation, followed by the keynote speaker Jeff Reep.
Reep, career services director for Cedarville University, encouraged the students to make a deal with him.
“I want you to pray that God will allow something that I say today to be practical so that you can use it and apply it to your life,” he said.
Reep said the students are at a crossroads and can go one of two directions.
“You guys are starting a new season of your life. … You’re either going to live your life to glorify God, or you’ll go the other way to bring yourself glory, to glorify your wants, dreams and desires,” he said.
Reep also encouraged the students to find their identity.
“Is it Christ or is it me? Stop and really think about it,” he said. “Imagine a triangle, and at the base of that triangle is Christ. The next level up are others and then you at the top. That is a very stable life.
“But if you take that triangle and turn it upside-down and put you at the foundation, it’s going to be very unstable. Some of the things that you want now that satisfy you now … that may not be what you treasure or delight in 10 years, 20 years down the road.”
Valedictorian Ashley Childers, an honor grad with a 4.0 GPA, said she believes all of the memories made and experiences had at OVCS have defined who they are today.
“I hope that each of us will be able to happily look back on the class and the memories we’ve made together; that we make wise decisions and plan for our future; to remember to follow God’s will for all of our lives; and enjoy and be thankful for all the wonderful things that life has to offer us,” she said.
Salutatorian Eric Blevins, who sported a 3.88 GPA, made his remarks brief and to the point.
“I challenge everyone in here, including myself, to be authentic in Christ, every day, all day, no matter where you are,” he said.
The graduates then received their diplomas before OVCS Administrator Patrick O’Donnell officially conferred those diplomas.
The audience viewed a slideshow featuring photographs of each graduate, beginning with their infant years to the present, before departing the sanctuary to toss their mortar boards in the air.
OVCS graduates are: Eric Blevins, Ann Bowman, Caleb Burnett, Makenzie Case, Ashley Childers, Marshall Hood, Morgan Jenkins, Andrew Sims, Justin Sizemore and Hannah Westfall.
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.