Congratulations to the Class of 2016

Salutatorian Speech

Graduation_2016_lk (125)sqweGood evening family, friends, PCA faculty and staff, and the class of 2016. I am honored to be speaking to you all on this special night. I would like to begin by acknowledging how important everyone in this room has been to each student graduating this evening. I would not be here today if it was not for my family, friends, teachers and classmates, and I know my class shares this sentiment. Thank you all for your continued support over the many years we spent at PCA. I would now like to specifically address my class who have become my family.

Class of 2016, we made it. For most of us, we have been spending years imagining this moment and now we are here. Before tonight ends, take a moment to look around and soak it all in. We have all put in countless hours of stress, hard work, and studying to end up here. Now we can happily say that all of that was worth it. I am so proud of each and every one of us for all the effort we put in over the past four years. High school was tough, there is no doubt about it, but if I am being honest, college will present new and more difficult challenges. With that in mind I want to leave you with three key things to know as we transition into a new stage in our lives this fall.

The first thing you need is to know what you believe. As Alexander Hamilton once said, “those who stand for nothing will fall for anything.” We have all been blessed to attend PCA, a school where we have been surrounded by others that share the same beliefs and values as we do. However, no matter where next year will bring you, whether it is a Christian school, a secular school, or the workplace, your beliefs will be challenged. I know for myself, at PCA it has been easy to not seriously think about what I truly believe. Over the past year, I have taken the time to really consider what I believe and learn to be confident in that. I urge you all to do the same. That way when you walk onto campus in the fall, your faith will not be shaken. Take the time now to explore the Bible, talk to a stronger Christian, like a teacher or parent, and revitalize your faith so you can stand strong this fall. However, this does not only apply to faith. As humans, we must also have different beliefs or passions. These are things we must also solidify before leaving home. I’m sure you have all heard, our generation is supposedly the most apathetic. According to other generations we just don’t care. We don’t care about politics, we don’t care about our community, and we don’t care about the world. However, when I reflect on the students I have spent four years with, I refuse to accept this. Sitting in front of me are students who do care. Students who spent study halls in the lounge debating public policy, who spent many hours volunteering, and who want to make a difference in the world. As you go out into the world, do not lose this passion. Continue speaking your mind about politics or current events, keep on volunteering, find a cause that speaks to your hearts and together we will change this misconception about our generation. I cannot wait until the day I read articles about my classmates finding the cures to diseases, starting nonprofits, or even becoming president.

My second piece of advice is to know who is supporting you. As I have already mentioned, college will be tough, especially that initial transition. There may be nights where you lay in your dorm wishing to be back at home at PCA with your friends. There may be times when you are struggling to keep up in your classes or feel like God is extremely distant. Know that no matter where you are, you always have a support system. We are in a room that is full of people who care about you and want you to succeed. Never be afraid to reach out in those dark moments. Call a friend when you are feeling lonely, I promise they will answer, but in the case you are sent to voicemail, you can always call me and I promise to answer. Call your mom or dad when you are feeling homesick. They love you and I promise they will be overjoyed to hear your voice. They have sacrificed so much over the past 18 years for you, and they will still continue to offer support and advice if you let them. Remember, they were in college once too, and probably know a lot more about how to handle situations than you think. When you miss PCA, and I promise you will miss PCA, send your favorite teacher an email. They will love to hear from you and will still give you the same spiritual and mental guidance they have been giving you since you came to PCA. Please never forget that there are people in this room who love you and wants to help you succeed. But, if you ever forget that, please remember that Christ always loves you and He will help you succeed. If you remember this amazing support system you have from back home, you will be able to overcome any challenge the future throws your way.

Finally, please know that it is okay to fail. I’m sure that if we all reflected upon our four years in high school, they were not perfect. We have all had days where we were less than nice to our friends, didn’t read the literature homework and flunked a quiz, or failed to finish a paper on time. While those moments are not my favorite to remember, they are important to remember. From each of those failures I learned something. When my friends still talked to me after I treated them poorly, I learned what true friendship was and how to forgive. From failing a quiz I learned to never skip a reading assignment and also that one bad quiz is rather insignificant in the big scheme of things. From not being able to finish a paper in time I learned the importance of planning ahead. I’m sure you all have similar failures that you can look back on and learn from. While failures hurt in the moment, they are needed to teach us. However, most of the time the only thing we remember is how much that failure hurt. Then, we are scared to feel the way we felt when we failed. So scared, in fact that we start to live life never daring to step outside of our comfort zone where we may fail. We cannot let this fear cause us to miss out on all this life has to offer us. When you go to college, remember the importance of failing. Sign up for a new club, take a class in a new language, go to the social event, or study abroad in a country you’ve never been before. Sure, you might hate them or you might have terrible experiences or you might fail, but think of the alternative. The risk of failing is always less than the risk of making a great memory.

In just a few short minutes, we will officially be high school graduates. This is an exciting yet terrifying time of our lives. The thought of moving out and starting lives independently can be scary. However if you remember to know what you believe, know who supports you, and are not afraid to fail, this change will be less intimidating. I am learning these things right alongside you. Thank you for making my high school experience wonderful and I wish you all the best of luck in your future. Thank you.

Jessica Mayes
Class of 2016 Salutatorian 

Valedictorian Speech

graduation_2016_lk-150weI want to start off by saying “thank you” to a few people. First, I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to be here today, for bringing me to PCA three years ago, and for everything He has done in my life during that time. It’s truly been a blessing to be here. I also want to thank the teachers. Your investment in our lives means more than you know. You are what truly makes PCA so special. To my family, Mom, Dad, Caleb, Anna, and Gunnar, thanks for always sticking with me no matter what. I wouldn’t be here today without you guys. Ashley, thanks for being my best friend and supporting me through everything. To the Fellas, you guys are my brothers. Thanks for some amazing memories. I’ll always remember everything we’ve accomplished together.

And finally, to the class of 2016, thank you. Thank you for all the laughs, mostly at each other. Thank you for all the conversations in the lounge, whether it was a serious discussion about faith and how to be a better Christian, or an inexplicably intense debate about Steph Curry and Lebron James. Thank you for all the great memories, like Brookwoods, countless volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball and softball games, many great theatre productions, and this final memory now, that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

You guys are some of the closest friends I’ve ever had. We really are one big, happy, sometimes dysfunctional, family, and I will miss each and every one of you.

graduation_2016_lk-83weWhen you look at the class of 2016, you’ll see a lot of diversity. That is what makes us great. We have some people who are brilliant, some great artists, amazing actors and actresses, incredible singers, we have leaders and hard workers, we have a kid that can kick a soccer ball into a net from 50 yards out and another one that can throw a baseball 93 miles an hour. We even have a Chris Hollis, and that makes us the most unique class on Earth.

God has given this class so many gifts and abilities. There is nothing the class of 2016 can’t do. In 20 years, the people in this class will have become doctors, lawyers, business owners, pastors, politicians, professional athletes, missionaries, and ultimately world-changers. My challenge to you, my fellow seniors, is to not let the opportunities and the talents God has given you go to waste. Use them to help further His kingdom and bring glory to Him. God hasn’t called us to a life of laziness. He doesn’t want us sitting on the sidelines watching everything take place. He wants us out there, impacting the world for Him. He has given us these talents for a reason.

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus tells the parable of the talents. He explains that there were three servants, and when their master went away, he gave five talents, or wages, to one servant, two to another, and one to the last one, each according to his ability. The servant with five went out and made five more, and the servant with two went out and made two more, but the servant with one buried his in the ground out of fear. When the master returned, He saw the profits the first two had made and said, “Well done, good and faithful servants,” but when he saw what the servant with one talent had done, He cast the servant out. God has given us all the opportunity to take what He has given us and use it for His good.

That’s my charge to you, class of 2016. Take these gifts, these talents, these blessings that God has poured out onto your lives, and use them to change the world for Him. When you face challenges, and you will, remember that your God is much bigger than the mountain you are facing. The great Vince Lombardi once said, “When we place our dependence in God, we are unencumbered, and we have no worry. In fact, we may even be reckless, insofar as our part in the production is concerned. This confidence, this sureness of action, is both contagious and an aid to the perfect action. The rest is in the hands of God – and this is the same God, gentlemen, who has won all His battles up to now.” Remember the strength of the God we serve, rely on Him in all circumstances, and allow Him to use you and your talents for His kingdom. Finally, I want to end with this year’s theme verse, Colossians 3:17. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Go Eagles, Sic ‘Em Bears, and God Bless.

Thank you.

Josh Roccini
Class of 2016 Valedictorian

Portsmouth Christian Academy at Dover is pleased to announce the names of the Class of 2016 seniors whose consistent hard work and focus on excellence helped them achieve high or highest honors throughout their high school career.

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2016 Golden Eagle Award