For the second year, First Presbyterian Christian Academy’s senior class was so large graduation Saturday was moved to Fort Stewart’s Main Chapel to accommodate the graduates and their families.
“Today we make history,” Highlander salutatorian Clark Sukaratana said as he addressed the 32 gradutes. “I stand here with all my peers and make up the largest graduating class this school ever had.”
Senior Brooke Standard gave the inspirational address and shared quotes from the movie “Forrest Gump,” saying there were various life lessons in the movie. She said Gump became a standout college basketball player before flunking out. He went on to become a Vietnam war hero, a standout ping pong player and eventually a successful business man.
“Forrest demonstrates five key lessons,” Standard said. “The first lesson is be your best… start by knowing yourself, sharpen and then hone yourself, be your best. The second thing that Forrest teaches us is to always see the glass as half full. During a flashback, Forrest reflects during a time he was a Vietnam soldier and said ‘The best thing about shot in the buttocks was the ice cream, they gave me all the ice cream I could eat,’ “We can learn that problems anxiety, difficult circumstances and negative thought only exist to the measure that we allow them.”
Standard spoke about the importance of thinking before speaking and said each graduate now has the chance to define their own destiny.
Sukaratana talked about growing up at FPCA. He started school at FPCA’s pre-school at the age 3.
He joked about the countless selfies they could look back on to remind them of the good times and some bad and then took out his cell phone and snapped a selfie while making his speech.
Sukaratana then cited author Napoleon Hill which read, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
“In all of our successes and failure we should believe that God is always with us,” Sukaratana added.
Valedictorian Bethany Lormis sang a song before speaking. She thanked everyone for their support.
“Our teachers have made sure that we learned something every day,” she said adding there were times it was hard to focus. “Our coaches were sometimes the only ones who could get us to focus because they could threaten our playing time. The administrators gave us a lot more graces than we probably deserved but they worked hard every year to make sure we would become the best students possible.
“I have to thank our parents. You all have sacrificed and have done far more than I am sure you realized you would have to, but you did it. Congratulations, we are graduating.”
She said her class has definitely grown both physically and intellectually throughout the years. “But there is a reason that our parents still call us their little baby boys and girls and that is because they know all the mistakes we have yet to make,” she said. “We are about to step out into the real world and there are going to be bigger obstacles, harder challenges…but it is during those circumstances that we have more room to grow. How we deal with our difficulties will determine our victories. I sincerely believe that we will face some opposition but we will be able to transform into stringer and better individuals.”