Friday was Graduation Day for the 36 members of our 2022 Senior Class. The day began with the tradition of Senior Breakfast. Seniors attended breakfast with their classmates and parents to kick off this unforgettable day.
Images of Senior Breakfast.
Seniors then went to graduation rehearsal to get any nervousness out of their systems and bond over their soon-to-be final steps at SBCS, while their parents went to the gym to decorate their tables. After rehearsal, Seniors lined up for the Senior Walk, another SBCS tradition that allows seniors to walk the halls of the school for the last time, as Pre-K through 11th grade students cheered and congratulated them for a job well done!
Images of the Senior Walk.
Before the ceremony, Seniors met in the Teen Room to put on their robes, hang their cords, straighten their hats, joke and remember, thank teachers, and receive words of affirmation from teachers who made a difference in their lives.
When the time came and the sanctuary was filled with loved ones bearing smiles and congratulations ready to applaud and cheer, teachers led them into the chapel for the last time as students. When “Pomp and Circumstance” began, played by Dr. Jeff Crum, the audience rose, raised their phones to document every moment, and Seniors took their places in front of the stage and pulpit.
Pastor Kivett Hicks opened, praying over the commencement ceremony and the graduates. Mr. Carson then welcomed friends and family to bear witness, congratulated the class of 2022 that grew and persevered through the challenges of their last four years, and recognized parents and grandparents for their love and support during the journey.
Mr. Al Hendley, School Board Vice President, honored teachers for standing strong and staying committed to the mission of nurturing and educating these students through these last years of trials and challenges. He also awarded Ms. Rhonda Campbell, SBCS High School History Teacher, as an example of the spirit and dedication of our teachers speaking life into our students. Ms. Campbell was unable to attend as she has a surgery scheduled next week requiring her to avoid crowds and the possibility of getting Covid before the procedure. Mr. Carson accepted the award in her place, but the entire auditorium turned toward the camera to applaud her from where she watched from home.
Images of speakers and recognitions.
Jessye Wells, High School English teacher, inspired Seniors and their families and friends by singing “Yet Not I but Through Christ in Me” before Dylan Weer, Student Body President, introduced Elaina Boulos, the Class of 2022’s Salutatorian. Elaina, who has attended SBCS since preschool, said that of all the lessons she’s learned at Salem, what stuck with her the most is “to keep going and to never think you’re not capable of accomplishing something or reaching a goal.” She reminded classmates that there is no secret to success, but that “it is a result of determination, hard work, trusting in the Lord, and learning from your mistakes.”
Images of performer and speakers.
Dr. Campbell then recognized Seniors who received special awards. Some of the awards were given to Seniors during Awards chapel a couple of weeks ago. These included the following:
The Anne Furrow Award was given to Haley Foster,
The Academic Award was given to Noah Baker, who was awarded an ROTC scholarship of more than $146,000 from Campbell University.
The Athletic Awards went to two Seniors. Owen Smith, who was named Team Captain for Varsity Baseball, All-Conference Honors, and Conference Player of the Year, received a scholarship from and committed to play at Guilford College. Saylor Schott, who was named Basketball Team Defensive MVP and Honorable Mention for All-Conference Honors, received a scholarship from and committed to play at Bridgewater College.
Christian Character Awards were given to Kaylin Beverly and Owen Smith. These recipients were voted on by teachers and faculty and awarded by Campus Ministries for showing outstanding Christian character. In addition, Forever Vikings were recognized. Forever Vikings are seniors who have spent their entire academic careers, from pre-k or kindergarten through 12th grade at SBCS. This year's Forever Vikings include Elaina Boulos, Elaine Jimenez, Noah Baker, Kalie Baker, and Owen Smith.
Special awards that were given at graduation were for the following:
The Scholar-Athlete Award went to Elaina Boulos for being the senior with the Highest GPA who also earned a place on a varsity athletic team. Elaina played on the varsity soccer team this year as well as earned the distinction of Salutatorian.
Sydney Collins was awarded the Female Athlete of the Year for being the senior who has played on multiple varsity teams. Sydney played varsity volleyball and was awarded MVP for both varsity basketball and softball this year.
Male Athlete of the Year was awarded to Nicholas Watkins for being awarded MVP for varsity soccer his junior year, and was Team Captain for varsity basketball as well as being named MVP Honors and All-Conference this year.
Sydney Collins received the Attendance Award for never having missed a day of school her entire K-12th career.
Images of Seniors receiving special awards.
Jonathan McGovern announced the Valedictorian, Elaine Jimenez. Elaine joked and got teary-eyed as she touched on fond memories. The heart of her message to fellow graduates was inspired by Ecclesiastes 3:1, “ To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Elaine reflected that while she poured everything into her education, she had a lighter load in her Senior Year and used it to enjoy life. She reminded students that there is a time for both work and rest, and “wherever God leads you in your life beyond high school, remember to love and cherish those around you, admire the world God created, read a good book, watch a funny movie, work diligently at any task asked of you, praise God for the life He has blessed you with, and take time to enjoy life and not get preoccupied with the constraints you put on yourself.”
Images of speakers and audience.
Mr. Carson announced our honored speaker, Dr. Vernon Brewer. Mr. Carson described Dr. Brewer as a man with a passion to help the world be a better place. Dr. Brewer served as Vice President at Liberty University from 1984 to 1991, when he left to found and be the CEO of WorldHelp, a Christian humanitarian aid organization that meets the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished areas around the world. Dr. Brewer gave each graduate a copy of his latest book If I Should Die.
Dr. Brewer shared life experiences and anecdotes, wisdom and vision. His passion was clear as he challenged students to go out and change the world. “That diploma is your ticket to change the world,” he said, emphasizing that it is good for life, no matter your skills, talents, gifts, or passions. Dr. Brewer encouraged students to spend their ticket wisely, live their lives with passion and compassion, and to let their lives make a difference. “Change your perspective, change your life, and change your world,” he encouraged.
Images of guest speaker, Dr. Vernon Brewer, and audience.
There were smiles and a few sniffles as a video displayed images of the seniors from babies up to the young men and women who eagerly awaited their diplomas. Dr. Campbell introduced each student before they ascended the stage, Mrs. Archenbronn read their accomplishments and plans for the fall, and they took their diploma from Mr. Carson. As they walked across the stage, they shook hands with Dr. Brewer and Pastor Hicks. After descending the stage, Seniors delivered roses to their families and were enveloped in hugs.
Images of graduates receiving diplomas.
Once everyone was reseated, Mr. Carson concluded the ceremony by telling students that he desires that they would know God and go out into the world to make Him known. He pronounced them high school graduates before they moved their tassels from the right to the left side of their caps. To roaring applause, students tossed their caps into the air in tradition and celebration. Campus Pastor, Mr. Rick Clinard, prayed over the assembly and graduates, entrusting them into the care of our great God.
Images of graduates moving tassels, throwing hats, and closing prayer.
Friends, families, faculty, and graduates were invited to stay for refreshments and fellowship in the gym, where they accepted congratulations, hugs, and endless rounds of pictures with joy and grace. Guests mingled among the graduate tables lovingly decorated by their families.
Images of graduates and their families.
Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”