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Ripon Christian Junior High graduates 58 students
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Ripon Christian Junior High graduation class speaker Ashley Bloemhof delivers her commencement address to an audience of parents and educators as her fellow class members pay close attention saying that a Christian education is something that can’t be taken from them. - photo by GLENN KAHL
An elaborate Ripon Christian Junior High School graduation saw 58 students cross the stage Thursday night to receive their diplomas from members of the school board.

Principal Dale De Weerd introduced commencement speaker Ashley Bloemhof to a large audience of parents and educators seated in the high school gymnasium.

Ashley told her classmates and their parents that their graduation was not only a time to reflect back at all the graduates’ past years at Ripon Christian,  but also to see the present and to peer into the future of their high school years yet to come.

“The process of rooting us in Christ and helping us transform into intelligent, young people started the day we walked onto the RC campus,” she said.  

She remembered her school days from kindergarten and sitting “crises cross applesauce” while listening to Bible stories through the junior high level and the boy/girl drams and the whispering of just who liked who.  Ashley quoted teacher Sherrie Kelly who described that growth period as “the teeny-bopper years.”

The class speaker pointed out that their middle school time was filled with many new opportunities and experiences.  There was the healthy food they could buy from ice cream and hot chocolate to nachos and pizza bread, she said.

She brought back other memories for her peers who were seated to her right about student council, band, choir and the annual musical and the many different sports teams that were available to them.

Ashley asked the class members if they weren’t going to be missing their middle school years.  “I know every moment wasn’t a walk in the park,” she said, “but remember science camp and all the crazy chaos that went on behind the cabin doors.

“And, all the owl pellets and squid we dissected – there was never a dull moment in the sixth grade,” she said going on to cover events of the seventh and eighth grade years as well.

Ashley continued in thanking all those who have supported her and her fellow students in their nine years of education.

“We take it for granted every day, but the gift of a Christian education is the most priceless, valuable gift a parent can give to their child,  because it shapes their world views and values and affects their eternity.” she said.

She added that their education has given them a Christian perspective on everything in life and helped in being discerning in an uncertain world.

“We have to remember that in these hard economic times our homes and jobs can be lost and our families can be divided, but our Christian education will be with us forever,” she concluded.