BRADENTON — U.S. Congressman Vern Buchanan held a ceremony Friday for students he nominated this year for U.S. service academies, including Zachary Denison of Bradenton Christian School, who is bound for the U.S. Naval Academy.
It turned out to be quite a day for Denison, who capped it off by delivering the graduation speech for his Class of 2009 before getting his graduation Bible and diploma before a packed house at First Church of the Nazarene.
Denison, student government and Honor Society president and captain of the soccer team, took a few moments before the ceremony to reflect on how his Christian education prepared him for his future military duty.
“Bradenton Christian gave me moral direction,” said Denison, one of 14 BCS graduates this year who attended the school from kindergarten. “Everything we have learned about God is something like the code of honor they have at the Naval Academy. I think the high standards that BCS expects are the same as the Naval Academy.”
Living by a “honor code” that each student makes with God was a theme that came up repeatedly during graduation.
In his commencement address, secondary science teacher Greg Beekhuizen advised the 39 graduates to stand firm in what they profess and believe.
“Though the world will try to uproot you,” Beekhuizen said.
The popular teacher told the grads to “shine like stars in the universe” and do everything without complaint so that people will ask, “What is it that you have?”
“And when they ask, and they will ask, tell them about the Gospel,” Beekhuizen added.
Thirdly, he advised them that the God they love is all powerful and can help them through anything. F
inally, he challenged them to live their lives “with more of Jesus Christ and less of you.
“He must become great and I must become less,” Beekhuizen said. “Do your jobs and your careers for the glory of God. It’s an incredible way to live your life.”
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 708-7917.