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Affirmation and Excellence

Written on June 21st, 2016



I attended the graduation celebration at Sonrise Christian Academy in Picton last evening. The event was held in a small country church in Bloomfield. The school community—grandparents, parents, students and pre-school siblings—all found a place in the sanctuary. Excitement was in the air. Smiles and greetings were shared as people found their places in the pews.

The violinist struck a chord and we all stood up to witness the procession of the graduates—all two of them. They were followed by the teaching staff, with Principal Julie Scrivens stepping up to the podium with words of welcome. We settled in for the celebration of Christian learning.

What followed was a beautiful display of care and affirmation. Each student in the school was featured on the stage as they transitioned to the next grade. Junior Kindergarten to Senior Kindergarten. Grade three to grade four. Not one was missed. Words of encouragement and hugs by the teachers made eyes sparkle.  Parents positioned themselves for photos. Students beamed. Applause was given for each child. It was wonderful!

Next, a long list of awards was presented. A grade one student won the Language Arts Award. One of the graduates took the Excellence in Math Award. There were awards for Athletics, Creation Studies, High Academic Achievement, and several other achievements as well.  The Timon Award, presented to the most improved student, is named after one of the original seven deacons appointed by the early church. Some awards are academic and some are relational; all focussed on aspects of Christian learning!

The evening concluded with a celebration of the two girls in grade eight who were graduating to high school. Both were diligent students and school leaders. Diplomas were given. There was a bit of roasting, led by teachers. A prayer was offered by a church youth leader. Each contributor to their evening was thanked with flowers and hugs by the graduates.

In our conversation after the celebrations, I shared with Principal Scrivens that a graduation event tells the story of the school and its vision. Sonrise Christian Academy invests deeply in its students. Although it is a small school in a small town, it is a vibrant community—a Christian community that affirms each of the students and holds learning to a standard of excellence.

Congratulations to Mina and Alexa. Congratulations to Principal Scrivens and the teaching staff.  Congratulations to the Sonrise school community.  You have run the race of another school year.  Rest for awhile in the joy of the Lord.