Family, friends and faith: North Hills students graduate

Published 12:10 am Saturday, May 26, 2018

By Rebecca Rider

SALISBURY — Seniors held onto God, friends and family on their final day at North Hills Christian School. During the school’s graduation ceremony, the group remembered laughter, tears and friendships forged over the years.

“Tonight as seniors we pause to think back to the first day of freshman year,” Catherine Johnson, salutatorian, said. “It is clear we have persevered and touched milestones. … Our class has shared abundant laughter and memorable times.”

Johnson told the crowd that she messaged classmates while writing her speech, asking for favorite memories. Within an hour, she’d received more than 200 messages, detailing everything from senior lunch shenanigans to debates in apologetics class.

But in addition to fond memories, students also reflected on lessons learned. Dean Gilmore, class valedictorian, said that high school taught him humility, compassion, how to complete tasks even if he didn’t like them and to never abandon his friends. But he also realized another important lesson — one of faith.

“In senior year I realized that everything will be alright, as long as you have God on your side,” Gilmore said.

He, along with other students, held great hope for the days ahead.

“We can all be sure that our futures will be bright,” Gilmore said.

The night’s commencement speaker was Doris Plummer, the school’s A.I.M. director and a teacher for 40 years. Plummer poured all of her wisdom and love for her profession into her speech, as well as her memories of the students.

“Some of you, I believe, came across this stage as kindergartners,” she said to graduates. “…There is a big difference between a kindergarten and a high school graduation.”

In preparation for graduation, Plummer wrote a poem about each senior. In rhyme and verse she laid out their personalities, their hopes and their dreams to laughter and hoots from family and friends. She also encouraged student to cling to wisdom, compassion and an unwavering moral compass as they go out into the world. But, she said, they should never forget what is most important — their faith.

“The future will never be as prosperous or as hopeful if it’s not in the hands of God,” she said. “…Above all, may you always keep God first in your life.”

She said she hoped the knowledge that God was with them would bring students comfort as they set out on their new paths.

“Life’s a journey,” she said. “But we don’t have to walk it alone.”

After the speakers, a special slideshow showed photos from the life of each senior as they grew up with family, friends and faith.

North Hills Christian School awarded 18 degrees. Senior David Canipe was the recipient of the school’s prestigious Timothian award, which is presented to a student who exemplifies the values of 1 Timothy 4:12.