This past Sunday, Jesse Remington High School hosted a its Annual Senior Banquet. We took what usually is an indoor event at an Italian restaurant and turned it into an outdoor event with take-out at the Joy House Pavilion. It turned out to be a wonderful time honoring our Class of 2020! Miss Susan Wilderman opened up the banquet with the following encouraging message:
"Welcome to the 2020 Senior Banquet.
I would like to remind everyone of the importance of honoring one another today through the act of being mindful of those around us. We are requesting that we continue to practice good social distancing and Thank-you for abiding by the guidelines shared by Headmaster Philbrick earlier this week.
A few recognitions and Thank-you’s: - If you are a parent of a graduating senior, please stand up - If you are a soon to be 2020 graduate, please stand up - We would like to recognize Cheryl for organizing all the details for today’s lovely event. - Headmaster Jeff Philbrick, teachers who were able to join us this afternoon and Pastor Steve. - Let’s take a moment and think of all the project teachers - We want to thank the Candia Congregational Church for allowing us to utilize this lovely Joy house pavilion for the afternoon. - The food we are going to enjoy is from Candia Woods.
I would like to take a moment to remind us of the purpose of this event. Today we gather to reflect and celebrate your growth over these past years during your time as a Jesse Remington High School Student. You have experienced different situations with the goal to help develop and strengthen you into productive young adults ready to be sent out as salt and light on the journey to becoming effective leaders for Jesus Christ.
From your first days here we desired to see you mature and grow in your Biblical Worldview, Spiritual Formation, Academic Abilities, Skills, Formative Relationships and Professional Development. Thus, each year, little by little or what may have seemed like more by more~ we sought to challenge and lead you through experiences to do just this. You learned to embrace the challenge and at times the pain of hard work, you experience travel with a purpose, you read great books of the past and present, you produced humanities fairs, dramas and academic materials, you developed multigenerational relationships with peer, teachers, Koinonia leaders, embraced the challenge of transitioning to remote learning being fully present in a remote setting. All these have been pieces of your time at Jesse Remington High School.
As a journal writer, I had the joy of looking back over the last four years and was reminded of experiences we share together: Four excellent fall mountain retreats at camp Shiloh, Mission opportunities in Hungary, Haiti, Washington DC, Philadelphia, day in and day out academic classes, projects of sugaring, botany, humanities fair, drama, choir, our school becoming accredited through NEASC, the addition of Mr. Samuelson and Mr. Knecht to the teaching staff and the list goes on. In sharing this list, I am attempting like the Psalmist of Psalm 103 to make us reflect back and yes think back past just this spring.
However, this spring has also afforded us a learning experience one of adaptability, perseverance, steadfastness. A test of how we face and live in disappointing circumstances. One of the largest lessons I have personally learned this school year is we are not in as much control as we think. But, what do we have control over is our response. Adaptability is a key soft skill needed in life, whether that is in the workplace, or your family life and you’ve modeled this through our remote learning time. Perseverance and gratefulness will never be seen as a weakness, it will actually set you apart. In tough times our integrity is tested. I think of Hebrews 12: 1-3 written just after the great chapter on the heroes of the faith. Listen to these words:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”
Three key things jump out at me: First we must lay aside sin, Second: we are to run with endurance the race marked out for us, and thirdly we are to look to Jesus. Notice in the description we are to run the race marked out. Trust me, there will be times when you do not want to run the race that is marked out ~ maybe that was how you felt in these last two months, or maybe you have felt this way at other disappointing times ~ however I will share that trusting in our heavenly father and Looking to Jesus will help you walk through the toughest of times. Especially when we consider that Jesus endured the cross for us, and he walks with us. So, may you look to Christ for strength and guidance always. This links so nicely to Colossians 3:2 look to things above. This is where we began this school year. Thinking about 20:20 vision and our need to look to the father for wisdom and strength. Today may we honor and celebrate your growth and as we do this may we glorify the Lord for all he has done in your lives."