Class of 2021
Presenting the Salem Baptist Christian School graduating class of 2021.
On May 21, 2021, SBCS families filled the auditorium for the first time in more than a year, to witness the ceremony and celebrate the accomplishments of these young men and women who will go out into the world to know Christ and make Him known.
As the first notes of "Pomp and Circumstance" were played by Mr. Brian Weer, both the excitement and witnesses rose. Seniors filed in for the processional, resplendent in their Vikings-green regalia, and took their places before the stage. Kivett Hicks, Pastor of Salem Baptist Church, led the invocation and blessed the service. The Head of School, Mr. Dwayne Carson, welcomed the congregation and discussed all the challenges this class faced during this unprecedented year. He also asked the seniors to turn and wave at the camera for those who couldn't be there, including high school English and Spanish teacher, Mrs. Bradley.
Mr. Carson recognized another faculty member, high school Bible teacher Mr. Nathan Jones. Mr. Jones had been called into service in the National Guard to relieve Covid-19 Pandemic situations and had been away most of the school year. Seniors and their families burst into celebration and cheered when Mr. Carson announced Mr. Jones' homecoming and the soldier, teacher, mentor, and friend entered the room. With a standing ovation Mr. Jones, dressed in his fatigues, acknowledged his students and SBCS families, then took the stage to shake hands with school leaders and others. It was a highlight of the service and faculty and staff welcomed him home at the back of the assembly as Ms. Andrea Melton performed "God of All Days."
Senior Isabella Brown introduced her friend and Salutatorian, Emma Miller. Ms. Miller delivered her address, thanking the teachers and coaches who encouraged her to pursue excellence in faith, academics, and athletics. She ended with a quote from Winnie the Pooh: We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.
Three seniors were recognized by Dr. Dean Campbell, Upper School Principal for athletic achievement. Eden Gfeller received the Female Athlete of the Year Award as well as received a scholarship to play soccer for Warren Wilson College. Corey Tong received Male Athlete of the Year. The Scholar-Athlete Award went to Michael Marra. Shad Thomas was also recognized for receiving a scholarship to play basketball at Catawba Valley Community College. Other scholarships given were to Isabella Brown from Gardner-Webb University and Dylan Myers from Lees-McRae College.
Senior and Student Body President Maddie Owen addressed the class and introduced the Valedictorian, Michael Marra. Mr. Marra, described as a man of few words by Ms. Owen, delivered a speech full of humor, insight, and encouragement. He humbly admitted that when making the speech he didn't know what to say to inspire classmates because he was one of them, a high-schooler figuring it out and that he did what any Gen-Zer would do and Googled it. After sharing some of the wisdom he found online, he admitted that he had then gone to scripture, "which is where I should have begun," he said. He finished by quoting Hebrews 12:11, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
Mr. Carson introduced Congressman Mark Walker to give the commencement address. Senator Walker acknowledged the class and their accomplishment, shared scripture and anecdotes about sharing his faith with President Trump, and drove home the message that wherever life takes them, they should take their faith and the message of Christ.
Quiet laughter and aws filled the room during the Seniors Memory video; a few sniffles were heard as well. Seniors lined up as Mr. Mark Baker, former Assistant Head of School and Upper School Principal, verified the class by calling out their names and Mr. Carson handed out diplomas. Mr. Jeff Failing, SBCS Board Member, gave the benediction before seniors moved their tassels.
As Mr. Carson announced the presentation of the class and the room erupted in cheers, graduates flung their caps into the air. There was a reception in the gym afterward, where family and friends gathered at seniors tables to share memories, take photos, and shed tears of joy and celebration.
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