RIPON — Fifty-six students graduated from the Ripon Christian Middle School Thursday night in the high school gymnasium with the traditional Pomp and Circumstance played by the Middle school Band.
Schools’ Superintendent Kerry Manus offered the opening prayer and Principal Dale De Weerd presented his address to the students. He told his story of the majestic eagle, and like the middle school students’ achievements , soars to great heights overcoming its many challenges.
The President’s Education Awards for outstanding academic excellence went to 11 graduating eighth graders. Receiving top honors were Michaela Aimone, Eliot Chang, Kyle Colyn, Tallon Dotinga, Allison Faure, Kayla Gerdes, Anne Hekman, Lauren Herbert, Karie Kotze, Michael Myers and Jared Stuit.
Tallon Dotinga and Mariah Alger were chosen as speakers to represent the class. Their speeches were chosen by a vote of their peers – all of whom wrote first person graduation addresses of their own.
The two graduates gave a team presentation similar to a pair of news anchors speaking one at a time alternately and based on the school theme, “Soar.”
Tallon welcomed the Ripon Christian staff, family and students, alumni and friends to the graduation noting that the class had heard much about the theme drawn from a verse from Isaiah 40:31 – having become familiar with it in chapels and in class.
Mariah added, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary – they will walk and not be faint.”
She added that her class had gone to Ripon Christian for nine years and she could remember the first day on the playground looking at all the big eighth graders thinking it would be a while before she got to that level.
Tallon interjected, “I still remember how much I disliked naps in kindergarten. If only we could sleep during class now. But then, we had three recesses a day and spent those chasing girls and playing ball tag.”
Mariah summed up her elementary school days saying, “Elementary school was astonishing. You could be yourself without having to worry about what others thought of you. You could do something stupid and not have people notice and you could dress in whatever your mom picked out for you no matter how ugly the pink polka dot ruffles and not have kids tease you,” she said.
Diploma presentations were made by trustees Ted Kramer, John Sikkema and Jeff Stuit followed by the singing of the class song, “Our God.”