BEVERLY - Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and many other well-wishers packed the gathering hall as 27 members of the Tygart Valley Christian Academy crossed the stage to receive their diplomas Friday evening.
Valedictorian Candace Means reminded fellow graduates that the Tygart Valley Christian Academy is not like other schools.
"We don't have prom, football games or choose a homecoming queen," Means said. "But we don't choose to look at it as a loss. We chose a different path. We had anointed prayers, scripture reading, praise and worship and daily open debates about God's word."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Graduates of the Tygart Valley Christian Academy receive their diplomas Friday during commencement at the academy in Beverly.
Means quoted Pastor Curlie Ray saying, "This is the first day of the rest of our lives."
Christy Armstrong, co-saltatorian, said she was thankful for her friends, family and teachers for their encouragement and support.
"Remember, never give up on your dreams, always have faith and most importantly, remember you can do anything you put your mind to," Armstrong said.
Co-Saltatorian Alexandra Williams reflected on the journey that brought her to this point in her life.
"My education experience did not begin here," Williams said. "I have attended copius schools, and I was left unsatisfied not only in my mind but in my heart. I always felt like something was missing. Tygart Valley Christian Academy filled my find, my heart and my soul."
Guest speaker, Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, congratulated graduates of the Tygart Valley Christian Academy.
"Everyone looks so wonderful, and it is standing room only in here," Campbell said. "I think that is wonderful. You should be proud of the school you are graduating from and all the teachers from here."
Cambell encouraged graduates to be willing to accept others who are different.
"Folks that are different are not those to be avoided or made fun of," Campbell said. "All of us are different. I want people to accept other people that are different. When I leave this world, I want to leave it better than I found it. The time that you spend making a difference is someone else's live will never be wasted. Sometimes you are the only Bible that some people will ever read. You want to be sure you are on the right page if they are reading you."
Graduates in the Tygart Valley Christian Academy class of 2013-2014 are Christy Diane Armstrong, Kendra Cheyenne Bender, Melanie Marie Burns, Carl Jefferson Elza Jr., Doug Earl Elza, Brandon Edward Emigh, Nicholas Alexander Fast, Zachary Brophy Flanagan, David Eugene Green, Samuel Todd Harris, Michelle Lea Hawkins, Jacqueline Marie Holsberry, Summer Elaine Hornick, Kyle Jordon Howard, Jacob Daniel Lambert, Brian Allen Large, Nevin Nicholas McCartney, Candace Annette Means, Katelyn Renae Methany, Courtney Grace Roy, Jessie Noel Rhodes, Diana Michelle Smith, Kaelin Brooke White, Alicia Rose Whitmer, Alexandra Brookie Williams, Dylon Noel Yocum and Hailey Rose Zirkle.