Five members of the Pathway Christian School Class of 2020 received their diplomas during a ceremony held at Upper Deer Creek Mennonite Church Saturday.
Administrator Lawrence Schlabach urged the seniors to remember to choose Jesus throughout their lives.
“If you choose to sacrifice for Jesus and you choose to embrace the cross, it will give you peace,” Schlabach said. “If you choose to exalt the person of Jesus, it will give you a great sense of self-worth. As you do to others and exalt Jesus, you’re going to feel good about yourself.
“If you choose to embrace the person of Jesus, he will give you direction and guide your life. If you choose his life over your life, he will offer you purpose, he will offer you fulfillment, he will offer you eternal life.”
He reminded the students to seek God’s will in their lives.
“Some of you have great goals, and that’s awesome,” he said. “But just make sure you’re following the course of life that God has chosen for you.”
Valedictorian Rachel Schlabach thanked teachers, classmates and parents who all helped get the class through school.
“You’re the ones who gave us laughs, memories and stories that will last a lifetime,” she said. “You have made the best out of a bad situation.”
She spoke of how the COVID-19 pandemic is a lesson on how God is in control.
“We have confidence in his control and his plan,” she said. “Even when we don’t know what’s happening or what he’s doing, know who he is and that he’s in control.”
She said that the pandemic should not define the Class of 2020.
“We can be known as the class that understands what it means to survive,” she said. “We can be the class that remained united amidst heartbreak, uncertainty and chaos. We can be the class that got one last chance to reconnect with our families before moving on to a new stage in life.
“We can and should be the class that doesn’t take anything for granted.”
In his student address, Shaylon Graber also addressed how the pandemic impacted school life.
“We know how the COVID-19 pandemic threw our senior year into a blender,” he said. “While we had to keep our social distance, we still had each other and our friendship. We didn’t just become victims of this tragedy. We became survivors.”
In his commencement address, Rodney Gehman, pastor at River City Church in Riverside, reminded students that life would not always be easy.
“God’s primary goal for your life is not that you are happy or successful or healthy or wealthy or wise,” Gehman said. “God’s primary goal for your life is that you are holy. That doesn’t mean that you are perfectly pious and religious and never sin. What it means to holy is that you are set apart for the pursuit of bringing God glory in everything you say and do and think in a way the reflects who he is to the world.
“Holiness is often forged in the desert. Holiness is forged in the wilderness of life.”