North Hills Christian School graduates 16

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 27, 2017

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — As they donned blue graduation gowns, clutched their diplomas and flipped their tassels, seniors at North Hills Christian School kept reminding each other of one thing: “We are a family.”

Many of the 16 graduates began attending the school in kindergarten and have been learning and growing together ever since. Friday night’s graduation was a tearful occasion for many.

But it was also those ties that made them strong.

Avery McGrail, the class salutatorian, said he knows that he will be successful in life because his foundation was built at North Hills. For McGrail, it was a foundation based of friends, teachers and his faith in Christ.

“I’m ready for what the world has to offer,” he said, “because North Hills has made me ready. And for that, I am eternally grateful.”

Valedictorian Jordan Plummer said leaving the school will be hard.

“I’m so blessed to have grown so close to you over the years,” she said, tearing up.

But she extended a challenge to her classmates: “Be brave, be real and be faithful.”

Keynote speaker the Rev. John Pless also encouraged students, telling them to “be persistent.” In life, they will find themselves facing impossible situations, he said.

“And so we have two choices,” he said. “We can either run away or face whatever comes.”

Pless used the example of Job, who lost all he had and was covered in boils. Job, Pless reminded students, refused to curse God and stayed firm in his faith — for that he was rewarded.

“Be persistent in your faith all through your life,” he said.

He also charged them to remember the words of Phillippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ.”

Pless said the graduates might find themselves facing failure or rejection, but it is important to work toward your goals and not give up. Pless encouraged the class to “not let defeat defeat you.”

“Go to the place of your failure and start over,” he said.

After the speeches, students watched a video presentation with photos of them from infancy through their senior year. For many, it cemented the truth of the evening — they are family.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.