GALLIPOLIS — As the only four ladies in their class, Shelby Bing, Cori Hutchison, Yuyan Sun and Katie Westfall were the stars of Saturday’s Ohio Valley Christian School graduation commencement as friends, family and teachers celebrated their steps into the next chapter of their lives.
Pastor Aaron Young led the invocation and OVCS science teacher, Harold Taylor, served as the day’s keynote speaker.
Taylor shared jokes and small pieces of advice with his students, as well as some personal memories.
“Here are a few important comments on life things,” said Taylor. “Life is a journey. Yes, there is a destination and that’s important, but what you do and who you encounter, the friends you make, the people’s lives you touch, that makes it a journey. Times are always changing and yet things stay the same. We all know the song ‘Nothing New Under the Sun’ and Charles Dickens said ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ Technology has vastly changed our lives…yet sin and despair abound. The world still needs Jesus…Be patient with life. It will teach you much. Learn its lessons. ”
Valedictorian Bing, graduating with a 4.0 GPA, spoke before the assembled next.
“What difference do you make if you don’t make a difference?” asked Bing. “I still remember the day I remember Mr. Jarvis putting this quote on the wall of his classroom. I told him to stop putting quotes up. I said I didn’t like going to his class because his quotes made me feel guilty. But that was the point. These quotes were just one of many examples of how this school pushed this class to be better, to never settle. God has blessed me with parents that sent me to Ohio Valley Christian School, where my friends and teachers have influenced my life in ways they could never imagine. Our Class Verse is Ephesians 2:10. ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.’ I feel lucky to have spent my high school years with these girls who have been open to change and willing to grow. I think we’ve pushed ourselves almost as much as our teachers have. We went from knowing to do the right thing, to wanting to do the right thing.”
Salutatorian Hutchison spoke next, graduating with a 3.98 GPA.
“Winston Churchill once said that continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential,” said Hutchison. “I think this quote truly describes our class. Without our continuous effort, our constant encouragement from our parents and each other, and the tremendous help we have received from our teachers and coaches at this school, we would not be where we are today. The definition of potential is having or showing the capacity to become of develop into something in the future. Ohio Valley Christian has been the place for us to recognize our potential. Our school has helped us develop our skills for the future in more ways than one. I am so honored that I will be able to say that I have graduated from a school that teaches its students to follow Jesus.”
Stephen Jenkins, of the OVCS Governing Board, presented students with their diplomas. School Administrator Patrick O’Donnell presented students with awards and wished them well on their next steps into college.
According to O’Donnell as he presented the graduates, Shelby Alaine Bing has attended Northbend Church for nine years. She has been a student of OVCS since the ninth grade. She is a member of Christian Honor Society. She has gone on two mission trips to New Orleans and has been involved with 4-H, student council and yearbook. She is the recipient of the Holzer Science Award. She will be attending Mount Vernon Nazarene University, where she has received the Founders Scholarship, Honors Program Scholarship and the Presidential Academic Scholarship, to major in English.
Cori Hutchison has attended Ohio Valley Christian School since eighth grade. She attends River of Life United Methodist Church. She is a member of the Christian Honor Society. She has been involved in Student Council, Choir, Yearbook, and sports such as cheerleading, volleyball, and basketball. She plans to attend Mount Vernon Nazarene University, where she has received the Heritage Scholarship and Music Scholarship, to major in business administration with a worship ministry minor.
Yuyan Sun has attended Ohio Valley Christian School since sixth grade. She has been involved in the varsity basketball team, yearbook and band. She has earned the President’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. She is a member of the Christian Honor Society. She plans to attend Ohio State University to major in international business.
Katie Michelle Westfall has attended OVCS since kindergarten, with the exclusion of sixth grade. She has been involved in band, choir, basketball and volleyball. She is a member of the Christian Honor Society and the recipient of the John Philips Sousa Award. She plans to attend Marshall University in the fall where she will be majoring in athletic training.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.