CCA grads thankful for the journey

Published 10:26 am Monday, May 23, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Chilton Christian Academy celebrated its 43rd graduating class on May 20.

The ceremony was full of special thank yous and stories of the last year from the graduates and faculty.

“Tonight, we gather to honor our accomplishments and to celebrate a journey,” Co-Valedictorian Joseph Gay said.

He thanked those who had helped the students along the way and thanked specific teachers for what they had done for the senior class.

Gay said his classmates helped keep high school interesting.

To the senior class, he said, “Let me challenge you to always put God first, make yourself proud and above all else do better.”

His inflection on “do better” brought some laughs from the senior class.

“They have been a very good group,” Principal Charles Gottshall said. “They have been a very entertaining group.”

He shared memories of being able to get to know the senior class, since it was a small class this year.

Co-Valedictorian Houston Bice spoke of how the teachers he had at CCA have helped him become who he is.

“I thank all of my teachers for being patient and for teaching me all of these years,” Bice said.

He also thanked his family for always being there for him.

Salutatorian Autumn Knox said throughout her academic career she has learned to “not get comfortable and make the best of where you’re at. Change comes; plans get wrecked.”

She encouraged her fellow graduates that God has been with her through many changes and will continue to be with all of them.

Guest speaker Kenneth Wren, pastor of Union Grove Baptist Church in Jemison, encouraged the students to continue in the faith they had during high school. He told them to be fearless in their walk with God like Joshua in the Bible, to be faithful to God’s Word and to be focused on God’s plan for their lives.

“Don’t allow the discouragement that might come your way to get into your heart and to take you to those places that will allow you to just shut down,” Wren said. “Understand that the word quitter or quitting should never be in your vocabulary … Negativity will take you down every time.”

He encouraged the students not to listen to the negative voices in their life.

Wren encouraged them to stay connected in a church and to those who will be a godly influence on them as a way to avoid distractions from what is most important.

The ceremony also included the CCA traditions of each graduate presenting a rose to his or her mother, and the graduating class presenting the Bob Jones University Benaiah Medallion to a representative to the incoming senior class. The medallion is named after a mighty warrior in 2 Samuel in the Bible and is as a symbol of the responsibility to be loyal to God and the school while working hard in their senior year.