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Ripon Christian High graduates 70 seniors as part of its Class of 2009
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Some 70 Ripon Christian High School students stepped up to their graduation ceremonies Friday night in the high school gym with nearly all of them going on to college.
The class members shared in some $1.5 million in scholarships.
The Ripon Christian High School Graduation Band heralded the event with their “Trumpet Tune” followed by “Pomp and Circumstance.”
The Class of 2009 chose as their class motto, “God will lead us through.”
The grads have been accepted at colleges and universities ranging from the Christian Dort, Liberty and Calvin colleges in the Midwest and East to Montana State, Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, Art Center Design College, Westmont, Northwestern, Azusa Pacific, De Bolt Civil Engineering, as well as a number of different California State University campuses up and down the state.
Richard O. Cassidy is planning to join the U.S. Navy and Philip Vander Wal is going into the U.S. Marine Corps.
Fifteen of the grads are lifetime members in the California Scholarship Federation.  Three received the coveted Bank of America Plaque Awards.  They were Lindsay Hannink for Liberal Arts, Jeffrey Hulsey for Science and Mathematics and Joel Pasma in Fine Arts.  Seventeen grads received the Bank of America Certificate Awards.
Valedictorian Jeffrey Hulsey told his classmates that they are forever connected by their shared experiences from action on the high school tennis courts to the Friday night football games.  
“It’s time to go into the world and make God, and our parents and our friends proud of us.  Time to listen to God’s calling, for He has a purpose for each of us here,” Hulsey said.
He added that everything in life has a purpose, but sometimes God’s plan is different.  Hulsey has been granted a $15,000 renewable scholarship to Montana State University where he hopes to launch a career in some area of aviation or aerospace.
Salutatorian Lindsay Hannink opened with a nostalgic look at her elementary years where in kindergarten they decorated adult-sized t-shirts to wear late in their senior year.  “Some of us finally fit into the shirts and some of us have long ago outgrown them,” she chuckled.
She remembered how she and her classmates “squawked” their way through fifth grade band.  The following year in sixth grade they would discover the musical talents of Mat Unruh who “wowed the crowd with “76 Trombones” rendition in “The Music Man.”
“We’ve pushed each other to succeed in academics, sports and in the fine arts,” she said.  “Our class has stuck together through glasses and braces.  We’ve had broken arms, broken legs, surgeries and even broken noses.”
She said that she and many of her friends thought 2009 would never come, and some wonder if they are ready for the real world yet.
Hannink will be attending Dort College majoring in nursing.  She was granted an $11,000 renewable scholarship in addition to a second $1,500 scholarship to its nursing school.
The graduating class thanked their teachers for the passion they said was evident each day as they taught valuable lessons that will be long remembered after memories of the graduation festivities have faded away.