05/25/14 — Into the future -- Faith Christian Academy

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Into the future -- Faith Christian Academy

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on May 25, 2014 1:50 AM

The 2014 graduates of Faith Christian Academy didn't just have their parents and teachers to thank for their celebrations Friday.

They thanked God, too.

As they accepted their diplomas most of the graduating seniors acknowledged the role faith has played in their life -- and thanked their parents for the opportunity to attend school in a Christian environment.

For the close-knit class of 18 graduates, many classmates since preschool, the evening was a mixed batch of feelings ranging from relief at getting those last grades in, sadness about leaving their friends and a little bit of excitement and uncertainty about the future.

Valedictorian Kayla Davis put the feelings of the class into words.

"We go beyond all that is familiar, comfortable and normal onto something else. But we go on to something better," she said.

Brianna Williams and Timothy Williams, Jr. served as co-salutatorians this year after battling it out neck and neck for all of their high school careers.

So it only made sense that they would deliver a joint address.

They challenged their fellow graduates to make use of the gift they received by being enrolled at Faith Christian Academy.

After the ceremony, the graduates met with teary-eyed loved ones and posed for pictures with friends about to head off in separate directions.

Some will go to Wayne Community College, others to Southeastern Free Will Baptist College, and some are still figuring out their next moves.

"I'm glad it's over with, but I'll miss everybody from Faith," Timothy Williams said.

He will go on to study at WCC for two years before moving on to study engineering at North Carolina State University.

Zachary Hawley plans to move on to WCC to study to be an electrician or to work with heating and air.

"I loved high school," he said. "I loved every minute of it."

Hawley has been at Faith since he began school 14 years ago.

"It's kind of sad, but I'm totally excited about the next thing," Jessica Tilghman said.

Next year she will go on to Southeastern Free Will Baptist College.

Sarah Woodard is heading on to WCC to begin training to be an emergency medical technician in the fall.

The Rev. Christian Powell, who serves as the academy's interim principal, gave the commencement address to the graduates.

"Bob Dole once said of being a commencement speaker that it is like being the corpse at a funeral," Powell said. "They can't have the event without you, but they don't expect you to say much. And I will try to do that."

Powell told those gathered, especially the graduates, not to be afraid to maintain their faith as they move into the world. He said not to fear what will happen if they follow the will of God.

He commended the graduates' parents for making the financial sacrifices to send their children to the academy.

Most importantly he warned the graduates not to give in to the ways of the world outside of the church.

"We as a culture tend to self-promote," Powell said. "If we're not careful, we as 18-year-old graduates and 42-year-old preachers will fall into that. It's a very self-centered existence. Don't make your life all about you, don't be afraid to die. Say yes to Jesus every time and not to the flesh. I beg you, don't spend your life for yourself."