Right now at Greater Atlanta Christian School the sun is setting on the Class of 2006. Parents, friends, family, and faculty are seated in the quadrangle looking up to the second floor of the Zenobia Tye Lyles Media Center watching robes of red walk on the candlelit balcony.
David Fincher just gave his eight minute speech telling one joke, the names of the colleges and universities the ‘06ers will be attending, and the millions of dollars worth of the scholarships these high achieving kids have earned. He gave a few tidbits of sage advice and in one of the great traditions of GACS, begun by Jesse Long, ceased his thoughtful address to allow the focus to be on the students.
A few moments before Dr. Fincher waxed eloquently, Sandy Spiceland, wearing a black suit and a red wrist corsage, spoke into the microphone loudly and clearly reading the dozens of achievements of Allison Turner.
Now I am starting to cry.
I always knew Allison would be valedictorian. I looked forward to listening to her speech and telling her to speak VERY slowly after all of the years in debate encouraging her to speak SO quickly.
Knowing Allison, I imagine every word well spoken and meaningful.
I believe Judge Turner would allow no objections to my testimony on this.
I miss seeing a turning point in a life lived with such curiosity, intensity, and competence. I miss the seeing the turning point in a life so reflective on things spiritual and ethical. I miss seeing the turning point in a girl so willing to work, to love and to laugh.
I miss Allison Turner and Lisa Warren the dozens of others students like them who have blessed me. It's such a joy to see such wonderful kids, growing, sharing, serving and learning together.
I miss Jenny Runkel and Melaney Cost and all the senior sponsors making graduation activities come together. I miss handing out honor cords and shawls.
I miss setting up the candles and roses on the balcony with Donna Strickland and thinking of nice ways to keep folks from saving seats too early. After all, even Jesse and Marilyn Long don’t save seats early.
I miss hearing the majestic sound of the music filling the sky through Mike Garner's amazing system.
Truthfully, I could get weepy over the dollars of scholarships in the speech.
Now it's dark, the candles are glowing and the caps are flying in the air.
A small civilization is ending.
Someone in the class through whom the light of Christ has shown is offering a benediction.
So I’ll offer mine.
In the words of Paul
“May the God of peace make you holy through and through. May you be kept in soul and mind and body in spotless integrity until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is utterly faithful and he will finish what you have set out to do.”