The senior class at Christian Collegiate Academy sat together for what was likely the last time Friday evening.
The small private school gave diplomas to 22 students after teacher Ronald Young delivered a commencement address that challenged the new graduates to strive for success and live life to the fullest.
Paraphrasing President John F. Kennedy, Young told the students to face life’s challenges “not because they are easy but because they are hard.”
Class valedictorian Leah Elizabeth Ash tried addressing her classmates but was overcome with emotion, prompting CCA Administrator Carol Roberts to step to the podium and read Ash’s speech for her.
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In her speech, Ash reflected on the human tendency for procrastination and urged her classmates to seize life’s opportunities before they fade.
“We can no longer procrastinate in living,” Ash wrote. “What we’ve learned is worthless until we’ve actually put it to use .... Yes, we have the knowledge, but if it goes unused, eventually it will rust and fade away.”
Ash was admitted to Baylor University on three scholarships totaling more than $80,000.
Class salutatorian Jillian Mae Peterman was admitted to Mississippi College on four scholarships totaling more than $48,000.
Most of the 22 members of the Class of 2017 will be going to college in the fall, and the rest have joined the military.
Christian Collegiate Academy
Valedictorian: Leah Elizabeth Ash, daughter of Dianna and the late Daniel Ash
Salutatorian: Jillian Mae Peterman, daughter of Jeff and Karen Peterman
Class size: 22
Superintendent: Rick Carter
Quote: “Yes, we have the knowledge, but if it goes unused, eventually it will rust and fade away.” — Valedictorian Leah Elizabeth Ash