• Jim El­liot Chris­tian High grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Oula Miq­bel NEWS-SEN­TINEL STAFF WRITER

Last Fri­day evening, GracePoint Church hosted an in­ti­mate grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony for Jim El­liot Chris­tian High School’s 16 se­niors.

As stu­dents en­tered the church, they were met by ap­plause from friends and fam­ily mem­bers ex­cited to see their grad­u­ates take the stage as El­liot’s 21st grad­u­at­ing class.

“We’ve grown and ma­tured from the chil­dren we were at the be­gin­ning of the year to the slightly big­ger chil­dren that we are now,” joked vale­dic­to­rian Em­maleigh Barn­hardt.

Barn­hardt, who will be at­tend­ing the Uni­ver­sity of the Pa­cific in the fall, re­flected on her years at Jim El­liot. She re­called the lessons she learned that have helped her pre­pare for col­lege and looked to­ward the change ahead as she and her class­mates em­bark on a jour­ney into adult­hood.

In her speech, Barn­hardt cau­tioned her class­mates about fear­ing fail­ure. She en­cour­aged them to both an­tic­i­pate and em­brace it, as they con­front it in pur­suit of suc­cess.

“Fail of­ten, and fail faster. Be­cause with­out fail­ure we can not know what truly works,” Barn­hardt said.

As Barn­hardt thanked her teach­ers for help­ing mold her mind and those of her class­mates, she rec­og­nized the in­flu­ence their work has on the school and its legacy.

Barn­hardt also thanked her

fam­ily and class­mates for mak­ing her time at Jim El­liot an un­for­get­table so­cial and in­tel­lec­tual ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fol­low­ing Barn­hardt’s speech was key­note speaker

Stephanie Bul­leri, prin­ci­pal at First Bap­tist Chris­tian School in Stock­ton.

Bul­leri con­grat­u­lated the stu­dents for their ac­com­plish­ments in and out of the class­room, be­fore em­pha­siz­ing the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing a righ­teous path.

Bul­leri stood at the podium be­fore stu­dents, Jim El­liot fac­ulty and mem­bers of the au­di­ence, re­lay­ing the story of King Solomon as a re­minder to stu­dents to stay true to the ethics of Chris­tian­ity, and to al­ways trust God’s plan.

“Don’t waste your life on the mean­ing­less pur­suits of this world,” she said.

Af­ter Bul­leri’s speech, coun­selor Trip Man­ley led the pre­sen­ta­tion of diplo­mas as the au­di­ence cheered.

Pic­tures of the grad­u­ates flashed on the screens above the stage while the stu­dent’s names were called to re­ceive their diplo­mas.

Af­ter the last name was called, vice prin­ci­pal Karen Guth­miller de­clared the class­mates grad­u­ated, which re­sulted in cheers through­out the church as proud fam­i­lies and friends whooped and hollered in joy.

PHO­TOS BY SHUMESA MOHSIN/SPE­CIAL TO THE NEWS-SEN­TINEL

Above: Stu­dents bow their heads in prayer led by prin­ci­pal Tim Cle­ments at the Jim El­liot Chris­tian High School grad­u­a­tion at GracePoint Church on Fri­day. Top right: Grad­u­ate Kayleigh Schrader cries as she says good­bye to English teacher Alissa Was­ton af­ter grad­u­at­ing. Bot­tom right: Prin­ci­pal Tim Cle­ments gives his open­ing re­marks.

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