Diplomas in hand, 2019 Inspiration Academy seniors will look to Jesus as their rock

The Inspiration Academy Class of 2019 might be done with high school, but they know that they can’t do what comes next alone.

In order to achieve their full potential, faculty member Jordan Jones said, they’ll need to rely on their rock — Jesus Christ. Using the Lord as a guiding light was the theme of religious service throughout the academic year at the private Christian school.

A close-knit group of 15 seniors were recognized during the graduation ceremony Saturday afternoon at the Bridge Church. Surrounded by their friends and family, they each received their high school diplomas.

“Today we honor all of the graduates and their hard work and their discipline that has brought them to this special day of celebration,” said Head of School and Co-founder Claire Speir. “Today we celebrate them.”

Each student brought something unique to the experience of education, friendship and religion during their time at Inspiration Academy, according to senior mentor Matt Bowman, who acknowledged each student individually after they received their diplomas.

Over the years, faculty and staff have become like family to the graduating seniors, Jones explained. Salutatorian Raluca Gica expressed her deep bond with the Inspiration Academy community, as well.

“Thank you for loving us unconditionally,” she said. “I never thought I would love my teachers until I came to Inspiration Academy.”

Now, their “bright, wide open futures” will take them elsewhere. Wherever they may go, God will inspire them to be great.

Inspiration Academy graduate Josiah S. Fitzsimmons fists pumps as he walks across the stage Saturday afternoon with his high school diploma during the 2019 graduation ceremony. Ryan Callihan

“As you move on, each of you does have a choice,” Jones told the graduating class. “It is that simple and yet highly impactful choice that has the opportunity to change the rest of your life. The choice is to be led to the rock that is higher, to choose to lay yourself and pursue His desires, instead of yours.”

Students will pursue different paths, but Jones reminded them to follow the compass of the Lord in all their endeavors.

“Who or what is your compass? Do you know where it leads you? What have you built your foundation on? And who do you look to to guide your life?” Jones asked. “You see, our rock needs to be Jesus Christ, and our question shouldn’t be ‘what do I want,’ but ‘What does He want for me?’”

In her speech to her fellow classmates, Valedictorian Raluca Velcu urged them to find God in everything they do, and know that it only takes one person to make a difference in this world.

“We are the change that we seek,” Velcu said. “We are the example for the younger generation. We are setting the standards for the future. Change isn’t solely influenced by politicians and diplomats.

Student speaker Lydia Kovats addresses friends and family at the 2019 Inspiration Academy graduation ceremony. In her speech, she explained how attending the Christian school helped her build a closer relationship with God. Ryan Callihan

“Change is influenced by each individual person. Each person that strives to pursue their passion. Each person that trusts God and themselves to put their reputation and confidence on the line to try and accomplish something truly unique. Each person that isn’t scared of failure but tries to bring down barriers and succeed.”

Bowman also announced the school’s Spiritual Awards during the ceremony. Tamara Kenon won the Inspiration Award. Josiah Clark won the Fire Award. Landen Morrison won the Christian Character Award. Raluca Gica won the Lion Award.