By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Four sets of twins graduate from Ripon Christian
College scholarships total more than $1M
RCHS Grdtn DSC 4633a
Four sets of twins two maternal and two paternal graduated from Ripon Christian High School Thursday evening in the school gymnasium. Jared and Jordan Goslinga stand tall in the rear while other twins left to right are Rachel and Jordan Van Groningen, Haley and Mason Veilleux and Mikaela and Morgan Alger. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — Seventy-two students – eight of them twins – with more than $1 million in scholarships graduated from Ripon Christian High School Thursday night in a packed gymnasium.

The students and their instructors and other staff members gathered quietly at the foot of the stage in the Performing Arts Auditorium for a final prayer together before the graduation. Each person made physical connection with one or two others standing next to them asking for divine providence to guide them.

As for the four sets of twins, Principal Mary Ann Sybesma said she believed that percentage-wise the school probably set a record with their two sets of maternal twins and two sets that are paternal in the graduating class of only 72 students.

Jared and Jordan Goslinga were the identical brothers and Mikaela and Morgan Alger were the look-alike sisters. Rachel and Jordan Van Groningen in addition to Haley and Mason Veilleux accounted for the paternal twins.

Haley and Mason’s mom Shannon said from her place in the stands that her two seniors complimented each other as their own personal cheerleaders. She said while her daughter was the debater and an academic, her son highly excelled in music and was kept on his toes about returning library books and other important deadlines by his sister.

Ripon Christian teacher Renae Goslinga said watching her two boys grow and excel was quite an experience. She could only verbalize her emotions by saying, “Fun, fun, fun! Never a dull moment.” Mrs. Goslinga sang a solo during the graduation, “The Words I Would Say.”

Nine of the 72 grads attained a 4.0 grade point average or higher. Twelve students earned 3.5 or higher GPA.   

The majority of them are college bound. Many will attend Dort and others will be at Calvin College, UOP, CSU Chico, St. John’s University, Cal Poly, Pepperdine, CSU Stanislaus and Fresno among a long list. One grad is going into the Fire Service and another into the U.S. Marines.

Kaitlin Lockwood was an example of a worth scholarship winner, to her principal Mary Ann Sybesma. An accomplished artist in several mediums, she received a Soroptimist scholarship for her academic accomplishments in addition to her community service work at the Interfaith Ministry in Tracy.

She was always working in the kitchen preparing meals and especially focused on others’ needs during the holiday periods, Sybesma said.

Kaitlin won an academic scholarship to Azusa Pacific University, the Cabrillo Civic Club Scholarship, the Mae Facto Scholarship and the Violet Richardson Scholarship in addition to receiving the RCHS Recognition Award for her art works.

Keynote speaker for the graduation was Sherwin Heyboer, History, Economics, Debate and Mock Trial teacher many of the students had in class for the past four years.

Heyboer said this was the only class during his last 12 years in teaching that he had for their entire tenure in high school.

“I do not know if there’s anything I have said or done that has had a positive effect on their lives, but I do know that they have had a positive effect on my life,” he said.

 “Go out and be world changers,” he challenged his graduates. “Change the hearts and minds of millions of Americans one person, one job, one discussion, one encounter at a time. Be the stepping stones for later generations to follow and continue. Let later generations watch the mustard seeds you plant grow, develop and impact the world for the good of mankind and for the glory of God.”

Valedictorian honors went to Kyle Mailhot and salutatorian was Jared Goslinga.

“We may have an idea of what we want to do in the future,” Mailhot told his classmates, “but rather than focusing on planning out each step we are to take, we must set our eyes on the goal and let God show us the way.”

Diplomas and Bibles were presented to the graduates by board members Michael Beidleman, Jerry Pasma, Scott Rhoda and John Sikkema.

The opening invocation and devotions were offered by Brian Vos, president of the Ripon Christian School Board.

The graduating class thanked the faculty for pushing the students to strive for success in all areas of life and for equipping them to approach the world from a Biblical world view and for teaching from a scripture-based curriculum.

They also voiced their appreciation to their parents for giving them the opportunity to learn in a Christian environment and for their love, support and encouragement over the years.

California Scholarship Federation (CSF) life members include Gerrit De Raadt, Vanessa Dotinga, Jared Goslinga, Jordan Goslinga, Timothy Ignacio, Jessica Kim, Kaitlin Lockwood, Kyle Mailhot, Anneke Mallet, Makayla Sipma, Natalie Van Groningen, Thomas Van Vliet and Kaitlin Veltkamp.