GALLIPOLIS — Ohio Valley Christian School graduating seniors shared a final moment with friends, family and supporters Saturday afternoon before stepping into the world on the next leg of their journey through life with faith by their side.
Graduating students entered the sanctuary of First Baptist Church in Gallipolis to Pomp and Circumstance before a welcome and prayer was given by First Baptist Church Pastor Aaron Young in the 38th commencement program of OVCS.
Lt. Col. Suzanne Dean served as the day’s keynote speaker. According to her biographical information, Dean is the Commander of the 445th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Air Force Reserve Command, Wright Patterson Air Force Base. She has also served as a teacher with Ohio Valley Christian School.
”Graduates, as you enter this next chapter in your life, let me challenge you,” said Dean. “There is no finish line to cross. There is no moment where you are supposed to be happy. While you are waiting for the perfect job, the LSAT test results, the engagement ring, your life is happening around you and you could be missing it. Life is continuously happening. Enjoy every minute of it. Your class verse reminds me that during those hard moments, there are ‘but not’ answers. You may be hard-pressed but not crushed. You may be perplexed, but not in despair. You may be persecuted but not forsaken… Because of an excellent God that we carry in our hearts and minds every day, this is possible.”
The Class of 2019’s class verse is II Corinthians 4:7-10 and its class song is Only Jesus.
Valedictorian Trevor Blank spoke next.
“Friends, family, guests, teachers and my classmates, we’ve been asked what we’ve wanted to do with our future since we were little,” said Blank. “Class of 2019, whether we wanted to or not, we stepped into our future today. Some of us will go to college or technical school. Some will go to work and some may not know yet, but no matter where we are going we will face challenges. My hope is that we do not hide from these challenges but face them with courage and an open mind. That we will not just be content to get by in life, but to live our lives to the fullest and make a difference in the lives of those around us. We will make mistakes but we need to learn from them and keep moving forward. Finally, I want to thank everyone who’s had a part in getting us to this day. Our teachers, who made sure we learned what we needed to know even when we didn’t want to. All of our sports coaches for encouraging us and helping us to learn the lessons that are best taught on a field or a court rather than a classroom. Our parents and families for all the love, help, support and rides to school, practices, games and activities and for being there to cheer us on no matter what we are doing. Thank you.”
Salutatorian Chasity Deckard spoke next.
”Little did I know that this place would have a huge impact on the person I am today,” said Deckard. “I would like to thank everyone for their influence on each of our lives. Thank you to our parents for their endless love and support. To our teachers for all the things that they have taught us and always being an example of Christ. Most importantly, I would like to thank God for being sovereign and for his guidance in each of our lives. I would also like to thank my classmates for all the memories and things they have taught me. I wish each of you the best and hope and pray that you all follow the path that the Lord has for you and that you always remember that even when something comes to an end there is always a new beginning.”
OVCS Administrator Patrick O’Donnell congratulated and presented the students for the reception of their diplomas. President of the school’s governing board Stephen Jenkins conferred diplomas. A slide show sharing student memories was given briefly before First Baptist Church Associate Pastor Nathan Dupont gave the benediction.
Following are the OVCS graduates of 2019 and their biographical information provided by OVCS.
Trevor Michael Blank is the son of Chris and Stephanie Blank. He has attended Ohio Valley Christian School since kindergarten. Blank attends Fellowship of Faith. Trevor is a member of the OVCS Christian Honor Society. He has played soccer for OVCS for six years and was a co-captain this year. He was on the track team this year. He was in band for two years and was a member of Student Council his seventh and tenth grade year. Blank is this year’s senior class treasurer. He has participated in mission trips to New Orleans three times with another trip planned this summer. Blank is the valedictorian for the Senior Class of 2019. Trevor has been awarded the Amsbury Christian Education Scholarship. He is the recipient of the Holzer Science Award and the Kyger Creek Power Plant Science Award. He is this year’s WSAZ Best of the Class Award recipient. Blank has earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence. He has also been awarded the 2019 Lions Club Scholarship. Trevor will be attending Cedarville University, where he has received the Faculty Excellence Scholarship and the One Campus scholarship, the President’s Ministry Impact Scholarship, and the Pastor Recommendation Scholarship. His major is undecided.
Jeremiah W. Case is the son of Amy Case. He has attended the Ohio Valley Christian School almost his entire school career. He played basketball during his sophomore and junior years. He also participated in track during his sophomore, junior, and senior years. He has been a member of the band for eight years and choir for his senior year. Case has earned the President’s award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. He received the 2019 John Phillip Sousa award, given to each year’s outstanding band musician. He was on the yearbook staff for four years. Jeremiah attends Vinton Baptist Church and SEARCH. He plans on attending the University of Rio Grande.
Wyatt M. Cox is the son of Jeff and Rhonda Cox. He attended OVCS since kindergarten and has served in student council every year since seventh grade. He has been instrumental in orchestrating the last two Homecoming Banquet Mystery activities. He aids in the worship team at Vertical Church Gallipolis. He scored in the top two percent of all students in English and reading comprehension on the PSAT. Wyatt has reportedly ascended to the top five percent of Xbox Live Players. Cox has earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. Cox plans on pursuing an associate’s degree in information technology at Ohio University.
Chasity Kaye Deckard is the daughter of Dustin and Jessica Deckard and granddaughter of John and Rita Taylor. Deckard has attended Ohio Valley Christian School for three years. She is this year’s salutatorian. She is a member of the OVCS Christian Honor Society and is president of Student Council. Chasity is also president of the senior class. She has played volleyball since her sophomore year and was team captain of the track team. Deckard is a member of Vinton Baptist Church and is active in her youth group. She has earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She is a recipient of the Amsbury Christian Education Scholarship. Deckard plans to major in nursing as she attends Cedarville University, where she has received the Faculty Excellence Scholarship.
Andrew T. Dubs is the son of Thomas and Melissa Dubs. He has attended OVCS for two years. He has competed in several Spartan races, one battle frog, and two duathlons. He has played soccer and has also played basketball for OVCS the past three years. He has competed in three national basketball tournaments. He is a member of this year’s track and field squad. He attends and ushers at Banner of Truth Ministries. Andrew has volunteered at Five Pines Ministries in Michigan for three consecutive summers where he was camp counselor and a field worker. Andrew has earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. He plans on taking a couple years off school just to work, study, and do things that he wants to do before attending a college to pursue law enforcement.
Zuer “Joicy” Liao is an exchange student from China, and the first international graduate from OVCS. Joicy is the daughter of Liao Shan and Hou Ling. She has been hosted by Dennis and Tammy Davison. Joicy has attended OVCS for the past three years. She is the captain of the varsity cheerleader team, a member of the varsity basketball team, and the varsity track team. Joicy is a member of the OVCS Christian Honor Society. She is the secretary of the class of 2019. Joicy has earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She plans on taking a gap year and spending one year at home with her family. Joicy will then come back to the US to study for her career.
Makala Lynn Sizemore is the daughter of Joe and Shelly Sizemore, and Rebecca Lykins. She has attended Ohio Valley Christian School since the eighth grade. She attends Vinton Baptist and Vertical Church. She has been involved in volleyball, basketball, yearbook, and 4-H. She has received the shield award, three integrity awards, and two Christian character awards. She plans to attend college in the fall and will be entering an associate’s degree to bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Christian P. Tolliver is son of Shelly and Joe Sizemore and Chris Tolliver. He has attended OVCS since his eighth grade year and participated in the soccer program for two years and has been a follower of Jesus since he was nine years-old. He enjoys the arts, computer work and video games. Christian has earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. Christian plans to go to college to major in cyber security and or user interface design. He is currently enrolled in a welding course at the University of Rio Grande.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.