Lee, Aldan top GCA’s graduating class

Grace Christian Academy graduated 19 high school students last Friday at the school’s chapel. The ceremony, themed “Moving Forward,” greatly emphasized the importance of a Christian education in today’s society.

“We are so proud of each and every one of you. You all worked hard and deserve the best life has to offer,” school principal Beth Ann Nunez told the graduates. Nunez also expressed her gratitude to the graduates’ parents, who she said remains supportive of everything the school pursues.

GCA’s faculty, staff, and board bestowed several awards on its newest generation of alumni in the three-hour ceremony.

Among the recipients was senior class president Leah Marianne Moreno Fabila, who received the school’s most prestigious award, the Eagle Award, which recognized her for possessing good work ethic, moral character, and faithfulness. Fellow graduate and Student Council vice president Zena Demapan received the Governor’s Leadership Award.

Student Council president Dong Ha Lee attained the highest grade point average throughout his high school career among his peers and was named as the class valedictorian in last week’s commencement exercise.

In his remarks, Lee ruminated on the many good experiences at Grace Christian Academy.

“When I first became a freshmen in high school, I wished that time would fly by faster so I could become older and explore the world outside of Grace Christian Academy. However, as graduation day drew nearer, I realized that I was going to miss every single thing about high school.”

Lee, who will be attending a university in South Korea, thanked his parents and sibling for their unconditional love and support. He said, “I will never forget the time and effort you put into me, just to give me the best.”

“I wouldn’t have made it through high school without the encouragement, friendship, and guidance from a lot of people,” he added. “…They say we have to part our ways now, but I know that we will meet somewhere.” 

National Honor Society president and class salutatorian Richard Joseph Tudela Aldan, who will be attending Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, echoed Lee’s message, saying that he and his peers are eternally grateful to their parents and school. 

“And now, for my fellow graduates. I have one simple statement for you: It is okay to be afraid of the unknown,” he said in his address. “With the help of your Creator and the will to succeed, I am confident that you will be able to turn the worst of road trips into the greatest of adventures.”

 GCA board chair Rev. Raymond Kinsella served as the event’s keynote speaker. 

In his address, Kinsella urged the students to never lose a sense of child-like joy in their lives, embrace wisdom and knowledge, and stay true to their faith as they pursue different avenues after high school.

He said, “When you leave Grace Christian Academy, you will experience many things. It is our hope that we have taught you well enough so that you remain strong in your faith in whatever your vocation calls you to do.”

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Thomas Manglona II | Correspondent

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