Hello everyone and welcome to The Habersham School Commencement ceremony of 2022. On behalf of the Class of 2022, I want to start out by saying thank you. Thank you to everyone here tonight. Thank you to all of the teachers who have poured into us and led us to this moment. Thank you to the administrators and staff who work tirelessly for our school. Thank you to all the coaches who have cared for us on and off the court. Thank you to the Board for investing their time and talents to faithfully lead our school. And finally, thank you to our parents who have raised us up into adulthood and made the choice to send us to Habersham. It really is by the gift of God that we are here today.
A few months ago in my sixth-period chemistry class, Mr. Manley, who has been my science teacher for four of the last five years, told me something that has stuck with me to this day. I don’t remember what I said first but in response, he looked me in the eyes and said “Sara, you get funnier every year.” Now, I don’t know about that, but I do know that I’ve definitely grown in many other ways since freshman year during my time at Habersham. And every one of us graduating today has grown tremendously as well, in ways I encourage you to take with you into the next chapter of our lives.
It seems like both yesterday and a million years ago that we were a group of measly freshmen in Ms. Bayliss’s class. One thing that has always made our class special is the community and tight-knit bond we have shared since the beginning. I’m not the first person to talk about the close community of our class which only goes to show what an incredible thing we have created. Even in ninth grade, we were close: from planning our own class trip to Atlanta, to our mascot of ER-J, to making waffles with Gabe in homeroom, we had many experiences early on that bonded us together. Over the years we have had a few classmates come and go, but our class bond has only grown stronger. Friendsgivings, Secret Santas, class parties at Tyler’s house, multiple late night Carey Hilliards stops, and planning yet another class trip have truly grown us into more of a family than a simple group of classmates. Just like a family, we have our disagreements and differences, but we are also full of love for one another. As we leave high school, I urge you to not only hold onto the friendships we have made here but also take this experience at Habersham to cultivate your own community that is just as supportive as this one.
Community is a key aspect of life at Habersham, and an integral part of being in community is staying alongside one another through the ups and downs. We may have reached the end of our time in high school but it has not come without struggle. Nevertheless, we have made it, thanks to the attitude of hard work that Habersham has cultivated in us. The Class of 2022 is full of high achievers in all areas. We have numerous athletes, including two 3-season athletes and multiple state champions, house leaders and prefects, theater stars, spirit club presidents, visual arts award winners, and dean’s list recipients. We could not have done all of this without hard work. Think of how far we’ve come: from barely getting through our ninth grade crusades research paper to writing and presenting our capstone senior theses. We persevered and worked through the COVID lockdown in 10th grade. We have had to balance working jobs, going to church, filling out college applications, and going to practices all while handling a challenging school workload. Through our achievements and graduation, it is evident that our hard work has paid off. Moving into the future, I encourage you to maintain that attitude of hard work, remembering the words of one of Coach Barry’s mantras, Galatians 6:9, which says: “in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
The hard work that every one of you has shown over the past four years is evident and admirable, but let us not forget that none of it would be possible apart from the Lord. In John chapter fifteen, Jesus says “I am the vine, you are the branches, whoever abides in me and I in him, it is he who bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” At Habersham we have been blessed to receive an education that is Christian to its core, encouraging and nurturing our walk with the Lord. Over the years we have grown in knowledge and faith through reading great Christian authors, partaking in chapel and morning liturgy, and discussing theological topics in harkness discussions. Teachers, staff, and administrators have modeled Christian lives for us and inspired us in our walks with the Lord. They have done everything on their end and now it is time for us to take our faith with us into this next chapter, abide in the Lord, and to quote Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven.”
As we move into the next chapter of our lives, many things will change: our school, our location, our classmates, but we will always carry with us the experiences, memories, and lessons learned in our time together at Habersham. So, to the Class of 2022, I leave you today reminding you of how much we have grown over the past four-plus years, and encouraging you to keep growing in community, hard work, and faith in Christ, remembering that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Thank you.