Lee Christian School grads urged to keep Godly paths

Jun. 11, 2014 @ 05:35 PM

Life after high school graduation will take students on any number of different paths, speakers told the Lee Christian School Class of 2014 Tuesday night at the Dennis Wicker Civic Center. The key, they said, is to ensure those paths are in line with God's will.

Quoting chapter one of the Book of Joshua — which tells of the Lord reassuring Joshua as he takes over leadership of the Israelites after Moses dies — the commencement's keynote speaker, Harlie Miller, told the graduates they can learn much from how the Bible depicts Joshua putting aside his fear of the unknown by trusting in the divine.

"Hear those words," said Miller, the dean of the school of education at Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem. "Apply them to your heart. The Lord encourages you with them."

Miller has split his professional career between Christian schools and Christian universities, and he spent much of his time at the podium Tuesday seeking to prepare the graduates for the shock that will come when they reach college. It will be harder than high school, he said — much harder. So he gave them spiritual guidance as well as practical tips that he said too many students don't follow on how to succeed in college — like spending twice as much time studying as watching TV and picking smart study partners over attractive ones.

Miller also said that instead of getting caught up in, and possibly overwhelmed by, the scale of what is in front of them, the graduates should take things a day at a time. A string of successful days builds into a week, he said, and eventually a month and a year. And one key way to find success, he said, is to not be too proud to admit to needing assistance.

"Ask for help," he said. " Ask a classmate, ask a professor, ask an advisor. But most of all, ask the Lord."

Cameron Page, one of the school's co-salutatorians, used his speech to compare God not to an advisor, but to a support. Specifically, he said, a bridge on the journey from present and past into the future.

"It's how we walk on this journey that will shape us," Page said, also reminding his fellow grads to choose partners for their journey carefully.

The other co-valedictorian, Makenna Parson, spoke about the partners the seniors have had on their journey so far — each other.

She said facing graduation has made her realize how much she'll miss even the little things she has taken for granted, and that while she's excited to move on, "it's a bittersweet feeling, that I won't walk into school at 8:15 every morning and see all your faces."

But graduation isn't always the end of the relationships made in high school. During the ceremony, Headmaster Stephen Coble honored one man in the audience, Joe Bridges. Bridges graduated from the school in 1997, one of the first graduating classes, and now is working as a missionary in Ethiopia, Coble said. But he was back in Sanford on Tuesday and came to support the new crop of graduates.

The school's board of directors chairman, William Hall, said he expects this year's graduates also will continue on Godly paths.

"You will be serving the Lord along with a large group of others who have set forth from this school," he said, noting that this is the school's 20th graduating class.