Here are some speeches and comments of some of our 8th grade graduates. Have a look and hear what our students have to say!

Tuesday
Jun102014

Class of 2014 Graduation Address

Class of 2014 Graduation Address by Mr. Jeremy Benedict


          I would like to start out by thanking everyone for being here today.  This is an important day in the lives of these young people and the support that you all are showing is monumental in their lives.  I would like to thank the Class of 2014 for allowing me to be here and to speak to you.  I consider it an honor and hope that God will use my words to stir something in your young hearts going forward. 

          I'm going to be honest, I can't believe that you sit out there, mere minutes away from being graduates.  I remember picking up sweatshirts and coats left in the hall in 5th grade and then putting them on and walking around the classroom as if they were mine to try to show you responsibility.  Now, those were mostly Pablo's sweatshirts, but sometimes Anor's also.   I remember being told on multiple occasions, "that's not how Mrs. Callaghan did that. "  To which I would respond, "do I look like Mrs. Callaghan."  To which I would get several different responses.  I remember the great "pants" debacle of 5th grade where, somehow, multiple boys got their pants switched during gym class.  It took weeks to sort it all out.  I remember a certain student always being at my desk when the Packers beat the Bears, just standing there.  Ready to say, "hey Mr. Benedict, did you see that game yesterday?"  Knowing full well that I had and that I wasn't happy about it. These are just some of the things that I remember from the last 4 years.  And I'll tell you, nothing they teach you in college prepares you for trying to figure out whose pants are whose.  Now, here you are, the graduating class of 2014.  Honestly, I had hoped that I would be invited back to speak at this graduation.  That being said, as this day drew closer and closer, I found myself at a loss for words.  Shocker, I know.  Besides a bunch of stories and memories,   I wondered what I could possibly have to say to you guys that I hadn't already said--and I've said a lot, especially at the start of 5th grade, right girls?  I may have even gotten to the point of worrying about this very moment.  Can you believe that?  The guy who always told you before speeches: be prepared and you will have nothing to worry about.  It's not that I have a fear of public speaking, it's more a worry of the substance of the message that I wanted to give you.  So, I guess it's a good thing that I didn't have to rely on myself for this occasion. 

          In Hebrews chapter 12, Paul talks about the race of faith that every person runs.  Verse 1 and 2 are as follows: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith."  Class of 2014, you are about to start another leg of your "race of faith". Now for those of you that aren't runners or racers, a leg means a section or stretch of a race. You have finished this portion.  Some of you spent more years at St. John's.  Some of you, not so much.  Some of you left and returned.  But all of you were given a gift here at this school.  You were surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  People that helped you through some very tough times.  People that are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but nonetheless, people that have been around the block a time or two.  And for some of you, this is the last time you may see some of these people.  For some of you, this may be your last day of Christian education.  You will go on to public high schools and universities.  You will go on to secular work places.   However, it is my prayer that you will not forget the lessons that you learned in this very building.  It is my prayer that you will not forget the lessons you learned across the street or in the gym next door, the classrooms surrounding us and the playground out back.  It is my prayer that you don't forget the people that have supported you in your race of faith.  It is also my prayer that you would not abandon this faith. 

           2nd Thessalonians is a New Testament book that deals with this very topic.  The church at Thessalonica was a very new church and therefore the Christians there had a very "new" faith--not unlike yourselves.  Now, new doesn't mean that they were incapable of anything.  In this case, new meant that the church members would possibly be easily swayed when it came to false teachers/prophets/magicians/etc.  Once again, not at all unlike what you will face in the coming years.  As I stated earlier, many of you are going to public school next year.  Some or most of you have never been to a public school before. You are going to see and hear things that are similar to what these young Thessalonians saw and heard.  And, like Paul's feelings for the Thessalonians, you will have people praying and worrying about your well-being.  It is my prayer today that you hold fast to the faith that has been growing in you since your baptism.  But, this also means that you will have a great opportunity.  You will be coming in to contact with people that may not know Christ.  You have the opportunity to be the witness to those people.  As Nehemiah stated, "The joy of the Lord is my strength."  Show those people the reason for the joy that is in your heart and subsequently that it is what strengthens you.  Show them that God is love. 

           As I just mentioned, Paul spends time praying for the people of Thessalonica.  He spends time warning them of what they are up against.  Chapter 3 begins as follows: "Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men.  For not all have faith.  But the Lord is faithful.  He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.  And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command.  May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ."  Paul understands that as mere humans, we are not able to keep the faith at all times.  That is, we alone or by ourselves.  But thanks be to God.  He is, as stated earlier, the "author and perfecter of our faith".  Class of 2014, the devil is out there.  As Peter says in 1 Peter Chapter 5, he is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Will you be on your guard?  If you remember anything that I say here today, it is that you are not alone--which gets me to my final point.   

           I want you to take a second to turn around right now.  Take a look at the people that fill this sanctuary.  Find those special people in your life that are just beaming at all you've accomplished so far.  Look at your teachers and pastor.  All of these people are here because they love you.  I am here because I love you.  There is nothing that these people wouldn't do for you.  Just like the Thessalonians had Paul and Silas and Timothy and others I am sure, you have all of the people in this sanctuary as well as, I'm sure, others that couldn't be here today that wish they could have.  These people in here today will not cease in praying for you.  These people in here today will not cease to love you.  These people in here today WILL continue to teach you in your moments of need, as long as you remember that they are there and that you are not and will never be alone.  There may come a time when it may seem like these people aren't there anymore.  Well, don't you worry, Paul had that covered as well.  2nd Thessalonians Chapter 3 Verse 3 says, "But the Lord is faithful.  He will establish you and guard you against the evil one."  I'm sure you've all heard the old adage, if you feel like God is far away, guess who moved?  God isn't going to leave you.  He is not going to let you go it alone, ever.  That is why he has placed these wonderful people in your lives.  So please, do me a favor before you go to sleep tonight.  Before you lay down your head, thank the people that have made a difference in your life.  Thank them and then know that they will be there for you.  Those of you out in the crowd, you know what this group of young people is up against.  You know that the world can be a wonderful place, but that it is far from perfect.  Please, continue to love, cherish and fight for these people.  Give advice to them.  Don't feel like you are overstepping your bounds.  They know that you love them and don't want to harm, but only to help them. 

           As I struggled through the writing of this message, scripture began to flood my heart and mind.  The reason for this you may ask?  The studying of scripture--the imprint that Christian education left on my heart--the role models and people that I had and still have praying for me today.  So I tell you, do not abandon that.  Stand firm. Looking out to tomorrow, I command you to be strong and courageous--as the Lord commanded Joshua.  You have been given much and to whom much is given, much is expected--as Jesus says in Luke.  Never grow weary of doing good as Paul says in Galatians.  And never, ever forget that you have people in this very sanctuary that are praying for you and will be encouraging you for the rest of your lives--including myself.  And, if even that fails you, which at some point it may,  if you feel alone and that others have abandoned you, always remember what Moses told the Israelites right before his death and then subsequently what God told Joshua: "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."   I congratulate you Class of 2014.  You are an incredible group of young people that I feel blessed for having had the opportunity to teach.  You have taught me a great deal.  So, go, do AWESOME things, you are all destined for such.   Thank-you. 

Tuesday
Jun102014

Class of 2014 Valedictorian

VALEDICTORIAN SPEECH by Joseph Iovescu, Class of 2014

                A family, that’s what I believe this class is.  We quarrel.  We laugh.  We fight.  We rejoice.  We go through valleys and over mountaintops.  But we find a way to get through our problems together, as a group of determined individuals fighting for a final goal.

                I remember at the beginning of the year, I was really excited to go to high school.  It was new.  It was different.  It was fresh.  It was something we had never done before.  I believe our entire class is ready to go to high school.  The thing is, now, I don’t know what I’ll do without them.

                How can I go to school without Alexis’ random questions?  How can I go to school without Charlotte paying for everyone’s every need?  How can I go to school without Albert and Katie bickering like an old, married couple, even though Albert is technically engaged to Charlotte?  How can I go to school without Alex’s stupid, inappropriate jokes?  Well, I can live without that one.

                I believe that we will get through life.  We’ll make new friends.  We’ll have other things to laugh about.  We’ll come through.  But now is the time when our paths part - some of us in one direction, some in another, and others by ourselves.

                I remember in 6th grade, our class was very segregated.  We divided ourselves into a hierarchy, sometimes not to our liking.  The boys never hung out with the girls.  There were the Minecraft addicts and the so-called “cool” kids.  But now, in just a measly two years, we’ve broken down those walls.  We can now look each other in the eye as equals and individuals instead of stereotyping to a group.

                Probably another very important part of our education here at St. John’s was the teachers.  I mean, they are the ones that taught us everything, right?  But they weren’t just teachers.  They were our friends and our coaches, the people that put their heart and soul into teaching us.  They weren’t like a machine, taking in our class and spitting us out as educated people.  Instead, they took the time with us, connecting with us, mentally and spiritually, sculpting us into mature, young adults.

                I’ve only been here for three years, but we had plenty of teachers in that short span.  I just want to thank each one of them for something important or special they did for me and my class.  To Mrs. Borrasso, for putting up with us when we sometimes acted like brats, completely out of hand, which happened quite often in 6th grade.  To Mr. Benedict, for personally teaching me to love and appreciate writing.  To Miss K, for showing us that even though you may be tough on us, it’s really for our own good.  To Mrs. Uffenbeck, for pushing us, even when we thought we had given it our all.  To Mr. Markworth, for making us do a majority of his manual labor.  And to Miss Bahr, for always being there for us in our tribulations and in our joy.

                Last but not least, to our parents.  They were the ones that paid for our education.  They were the ones that pushed us to do better.  They were the ones that raised us, that cared for us, that loved us.  We all love our parents, and I thank each parent for everything they have done.

                Even though we’re leaving each other, we’re leaving as family.  I will always remember the people in the Class of 2014, every single one of these crazy 12 people in front of me, and all these wonderful teachers.  C. S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… it has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”  These people aren’t just my classmates and my teachers.  They are my friends.  They are my family.

                I’m sorry I’m leaving these marvelous people here at St. John’s, but the future is waiting.  This isn’t the end.  It’s just the beginning.  I wish you all the best of luck, and may God bless you all.

Tuesday
Jun102014

Class of 2014 Salutatorian 

SALUTATORIAN SPEECH by Nathaniel Krok, Class of 2014

                I’d like to thank everyone for coming here on this very special occasion – all of the students, parents, teachers, friends, and family.  Welcome to the graduation of the Class of 2014.

            It’s been a great year – definitely the best school year I’ve ever experienced.  I’ve grown very close to all of my classmates who have made this year extremely enjoyable.  I’d like to thank my friends, family, and teachers for existing in my life to help me prosper as a student at this wonderful school – St. John’s.  Because of the great experiences, memories and all of the blessed things that I’ve received from being a student here, I know that it will be tough to leave forever and move on to high school.

            I will never forget all the crazy things that made this year so enjoyable:  Alexis’ random questions, easily getting off topic in some classes, the ridiculous comments from people like Sam, Albert, Alex, and Jake.  Anything like that which made me laugh quite so hard or feel so intrigued is completely unforgettable.  In the future, I’m sure I’ll remember these things and it’ll make me really miss this class.

            It’s notably necessary to give proper thanks for all of the support I’ve received in my life here at St. John’s.  I feel I should definitely thank all of the parents who helped with everything throughout the years, and I know that I should also thank the teachers here for being such great teachers who were willing to give me and my classmates a proper education.  There were so many people that helped me through so many times who definitely need to be thanked, like Mr. Markworth, Pastor Heinz, and much of the staff and faculty at St. John’s.  I’m very grateful for all of these people.  And with all due respect, it is necessary to thank this school for the number “three”.

            I feel that God has really led me and my classmates forward this year.  Yes, sometimes it seemed as if we weren’t getting anywhere and the maturity level was a bit too low… But overall, I really think that we all improved a lot.  Even through tough times or bad experiences that many of us may have had, God sent us in the right direction.  As long as we would choose to follow the good path that the Lord set for us, we would succeed.  This shows that it is very important to make good choices and live God-pleasing lives.

            St. John’s is definitely a great school.  Where would I be without it?  I seriously don’t think I would have had such a “fun” yet good education that I had here at this school.  My experience at this school with all of my friends and all of the different teachers has been a very good experience – an unforgettable one.  It’s not going to be an easy trip to leave this place.  I’m going to miss it a lot.

            To close my speech and give one last remark, I’d like to say this:  “St. John’s, thank you for being such a great school.”

Monday
Jun092014

The Class of 2013 - "What They Are Thankful For"

Below are excerpts from papers the students were asked to write, regarding things they are thankful for in their lives.

"I am thankful for my school that I attend.  They provide me with good education and good leadership.  They teach me to follow in God's footsteps and walk in His ways.  I am thankful for what they have taught me."  <protected>

"I am thankful for my school and all the teachers there because, they have given me a good education for all the years I have been at St. John's.  I'm thankful they guide and support me through my education.  They make my faith in God stronger every day I am at school.  I'm very thankful that they are always there for me in everything I do."  Hannah Nosalik

"Finally, I am also thankful for my school.  I could not ask for a better school to go to.  I'm so thankful that I get the opportunity to learn in a Lutheran private school.  The teachers are so understanding and helpful.  One thing I love the most about my school is that there is no such thing as not fitting in and that was one of the things I was scared about going to a new school.  But my school just makes you feel so welcomed and not judged."  Alyssa <protected>

Tuesday
Jun042013

Valedictorians - Class of 2013  

Valedictorian – Class of 2013

Name Withheld

We welcome you today friends, family, staff, teachers, and most importantly, the graduates of the Class of 2013. Welcome to graduation.

Parents, we would like to thank you for bringing us here today to this special moment in our lives. We thank you because you have helped us get to this point in time. You have supported us going to this school, helping us with our homework, and encouraging us to do better.

Teachers, we thank you for helping us understanding our school subjects better and helping us be better prepared for high school. You have worked tirelessly to make the best of us, and helped strengthen our faith as Christians.

It's amazing to think that this Class of 2013 started with one kid in 3 year-old preschool 11 long years ago and has now grown to 12 kids many years later. We've all worked hard to get to this point, we've had a few kids come and go from us, but we enjoyed our time together.

This is a very special occasion in our lives because this only happens 3 times: once now, then in high school, as well as in college. This is a rare moment, so we must make the most of it in this time we have today. Because after today, we will all be high school freshman, no longer little kids in grade school at St. John's Lutheran School.

Since I am a man of few words, I'm going to wrap up this speech. Thank you everyone who is here today for contributing something to our lives that has helped us get to this point.

 

Class of 2013

Valedictorian  Lynsey (Last Name Withheld)

 

 I would like to start out by saying thank you to the families and teachers for joining my classmates and I on this memorable occasion.  St. John’s has really helped me grow as a student, Christian, and person in general.  Without the help of my teachers, friends, and family I wouldn’t be standing here today.  All of you have helped me to persevere and always try my best.

 

 St. John’s was only the first chapter of our lives.  Though our years here are coming to an end, I would hope that none of us forget the very off topic science classes, hilarious inside jokes, and all the memories we’ve created as a class.  Also, I hope we never forget the many things we have learned.  Joshua 1:9 says: “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Moving on to high school is a big step that we are afraid to take alone.  Most of us will not be attending a Christian school.  As our class song says, “I know who goes before me and I know who stands behind.  The God of angel armies is always by my side.”  We do not need to be afraid because God will always be with us, we are not taking the step alone.

Being at this school for the past nine years has really helped me develop into the young Christian woman I am today.  Growing up in a school with small classes and strong student-teacher relationships gave me an opportunity to really be my own person and allowed me to get help whenever I needed it.  Because St. John’s helped me to become who I am today it will always hold a special place in my heart and I’ll never forget where my education started.

St. John’s has become like a second home to many of us.  It’s a place where we can be ourselves, speak our mind, and most of all feel safe, loved, and cared about.  After we walk out those doors today we will no longer be Miss Bahr’s eighth grade class, we will be high school freshmen.  We can always look back at this place and remember the memories.  This is only the end of the beginning, not the final chapter.  Let’s hope we never forget our lives at St. John’s.  Remember no matter where you are do not, under any circumstances, let anyone dull your sparkles.