Camille Joy Perez Masilungan and 21 of her classmates ended their journey at Grace Christian Academy and the Eagles’ Class of 2016’s Valedictorian said “the next adventure begins.” She said that all have fond memories at GCA but is now slowly realizing another part of their quest.
“We are forced to realize the unfamiliar and uncertain journey that is college,” said Masilungan, in her valedictory address in GCA’s commencement exercises held last Friday at the school’s chapel in Navy Hill.
“Many of us are struck with the more daunting idea of being away from home, meeting people who do not share the same opinions as we do, picking out a potential career, and so much more. We tend to forget that we have a God beyond such uncertainties.”
She then reminded her classmates of the passage in Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“This verse applies completely to us as we have to realize our capability for greater things, our ability to attain our goals, and our potential to become people worthy of pride despite the past, wealth, and doubt,” said Masilungan.
“Because we have a God that stands by us, people who believe in us, and a school that has taught us everything academically and spiritually we would need to succeed.”
She added: “as we go on toward the dreams we chase and the roads we have yet to travel, know that we already have 18 years worth of encouragement, love, faith, and determination to overcome the unnerving future before us, as we have finally reached and conquered this milestone.”
Masilungan then challenged her classmates to “brace the intimidating obstacles and new experiences, be thankful with full hearts, and work towards becoming the inspirations others aspire to be.”
Salutatorian Ellie Grace Eichenberger, in her speech, congratulated her classmates “on completing this period of your lives. Never again will you walk into the GCA cafeteria and groan over the food or be required to write a 10-page research paper.”
“Instead, you will groan over having to pay your own food and writing a 30-page research paper in college. Don’t worry I have faith that all of you can do it. GCA has prepared you well.”
She then advised her fellow graduates not to give up on their dreams. “As we move toward the next period of our lives, adulthood, I encourage you to never give up on your goals. Just as my parents have taught me to never give up on my dreams.”
“If you have a dream that God has placed in your heart, don’t ever give up until it becomes a reality. If that dream is God’s will, nothing can stand in your way. Life will be hard and we will face trials as we leave these buildings.”
“However, do not let those trials keep you down on the ground. Stand up and try again. God will carry you. I wish all of you the best in your future plans. May they be everything you hoped, and more,” said Eichenberger.