40 seniors receive diplomas
LAWRENCEVILLE – The members of the Brunswick Academy Class of 2020 have faced many challenges but their hard work and dedication was rewarded Saturday, June 20, 2020 at the Baccalaureate and Commencement exercise. The service was held on the Dennis A. Moore Football Field.
Brittney Weidman, Head of School, presided.
Sadler Hastings Lundy was the Valedictorian. Her parents are Russell A. Lundy of Bracey and Marion Bell Sadler (Missi) of Emporia.
Davis Keith Roberts was the Salutatorian. His parents are Brian K. Roberts and Kimberly D. Roberts of Lawrenceville.
Rev. Greg Hand, Pleasant Hill Christian Church, Gasburg, Virginia, said it was a joy to be part of the celebration. He commended the Class of 2020 on their intellect and skill saying they now have the chance to use those skills as they set a new course in life. Rev. Hand encouraged the class to continue to shine their light.
Rev. Hand used the book Mutiny on the Bounty as example of being a positive influence. The focus of his message was that characters in the book used the Bible to teach others to read and write. He urged the seniors to remember the lessons learned at home and at school. Rev. Hand stressed the importance of being a positive influence.
“You are getting ready to set sail in a vast ocean. There will be storms and challenges but you can excel if you stay the course relying on lessons learned here and at home,” Rev. Hand said.
Rev. Hand closed by referencing the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, a young preacher, found in 2 Timothy 3: 14-17.
“You are leaving Brunswick Academy and starting a new journey and will navigate the waters of life. I am not saying goodbye but God’s speed. I wish you success and prosperity. May the Lord bless you and keep you, Sail on and hold on to His word. God bless you,” Rev. Hand said.
Frank Myers, Chairman, Brunswick Academy Association, first thanked Liberty Church for loaning the school the sound system. He offered a special thanks to Sheriff Brian Roberts for his guidance with the rules regarding safety. Myers thanked the parents, grandparents and patrons of Brunswick Academy. He recognized the Class of 2020 who stood and gave a round of applause to their families and friends.
Myers said the pandemic has taken the lives of family members and friends and further stated that some people have lost their jobs but the Class of 2020 met the challenges thrust upon them.
Myers gave some statistics saying that 38 seniors will further their education with two seniors undecided; 25 seniors will attend a four-year college; the members performed 5,600 hours of community service; 33 seniors took the SAT scoring an average of 1100 with Davis Roberts scoring 1300; 93 percent pursued sports or spirit clubs.
“You have endured some tough times. You are an impressive class. Congratulations and good luck,” Myers said.
Davis began his speech by thanking the Board of Directors, families and friends who supported him and other members of the Class of 2020. He said thanked the faculty, board and teachers for providing a friendly and loving atmosphere.
“When we say that Brunswick Academy is one big family, we truly mean it! And this is obviously shown by the love and support that we give each other,” Davis said.
Davis thanked his Mom and Dad for pushing him to be the best he could be. He thanked his Mom for instilling Christian values in him that will carry him through life. Davis thanked his Dad for steering him down the right path and being there to give him the best advice. He thanked his sister, Alaina, and grandparents for giving him love and support.
Davis turned his attention to his fellow classmates saying they made the best of every moment and expressed his gratitude for their friendships.
” Most classes may go their separate ways after graduation, but I know that a class that loves each other as much as we do will stick together,” Davis said.
Davis said he is saddened to think their time at Brunswick Academy has come to an end but expressed excitement about the future.
“I know that we are ready for our future because we have God on our side, and He has an amazing plan for each of us. As the Bible says in Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Even though I am certain that we will have a bright future, I am also certain that life is not always easy. As we have learned this year, life will throw many challenges our way, but we must believe that we can make it through those difficult times. The Bible assures us of this in my favorite verse. Psalms 23:4 says, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.’”
Davis closed by saying that Brunswick Academy has not only prepared them academically for the future but also molded them into young men and women that they are today. He said the school has been a home away from home. Davis encouraged his fellow classmates to aim high and reach for their dreams.
“You all are more than capable of achieving anything you set your mind to. I love this school, and I always will. I know that I will be able to count on my Brunswick Academy family for the rest of my life. With all of that being said, I thank you all again for everything you have done for me. I am forever grateful, and I will always remember and be proud of where I came from. Forever and always, ‘Go, Vikings!’”
Sadler started her speech in an unusual way.
“Welcome honored guest, family, friends, Members of the Board of Directors, faculty, and head of school Mr. Redman to the commencement of the Class of 1984… 36 years ago that’s exactly how my mom started her Valedictorian speech here at Brunswick Academy, so today that’s how I’m starting mine. Although now graduating is the Class of 2020, and our head of school is Mrs. Weidman. While I am honored to follow in her footsteps, and be the first second generation Valedictorian at Brunswick Academy, that’s about as good as mom’s speech got, so I’m not using any more of it, sorry mom, love you,” Sadler said.
Sadler said, “The Class of 2020 was destined for greatness. I know that sounds cliché and everyone says it, but it’s the honest truth. We were born when the world was grieving the tragic events of 9/11, and now we are entering the real world in a time where we are experiencing a pandemic that has taken over normal everyday life. But here we are, we are making it through this challenging time of uncertainty with faith that everything will work itself out for us.”
Sadler said throughout the years their class had the largest number of students. She took a walk down memory lane remembering recess and nap time, wanting to get to middle school and finally having a locker, switching classes and trying out for sports. Sadler said she and her classmates looked forward to homecoming, playing sports, and finally having a study hall. Other milestones included getting a driver’s license and a car, decorating and going to prom, the homecoming football game, senior night and finally graduation.
”We did it! We finally finished high school, and it ended with the most memorable senior year. Although, senior year was not easy, actually far from easy, especially if you want to end up standing where I’m standing. It’s so much fun, but also challenging and difficult. Even more so this year because many of the moments we looked forward to the most during our senior year we did not get to enjoy. We did at least get to go on our senior trip to Disney World and have one last memorable time with each other before today; however, we also were privileged to experience so much more in our time here at Brunswick Academy,” Sadler stated.
Sadler called attention to the changes the Class of 2020 has seen at BA: a new gym floor was installed dedicated to her cousin Halie Dru, new bleachers were added, different principals, and ice cream jumping from 25 cents to $1.25, changing from receiving orange slips instead of demerits, the hurricane that cut the freshman homecoming dance short and a new floor in the high school.
The tone of Sadler’s speech turned more serious.
“I struggled with feeling like I wasn’t enough for myself or others. Honestly, I thought that once I reached this honorable achievement, I would feel like I was enough. I felt this incredible wave of pride come over myself, but I still didn’t feel like I was enough. It took some time, but I realized that being enough doesn’t come from recognition from the outside world, it comes from the inside and realizing your self-worth. If there is anything you take away from my speech today, know that the only person that defines you is you. No one else’s opinions or preconceptions of you matter. Be in control of your own life. I hope that if you ever go through trying times, just know that it will make you stronger in the end and it will pass and you will triumph,” Sadler stated.
Sadler thanked her friends, family and teachers, Mrs. Poarch for being like a second mom to her, Mr. Ottoway, Mrs. Allgood and Mrs. Piercy.
“I want to thank my Mom and Dad who have been my biggest supporters and number #1 fans. You saw all my potential when I didn’t see it in myself. You raised me to be honest, sincere, empathetic, encouraging, and most importantly myself. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me and for letting me become my own person and make my own choices. I love you both with all my heart,” Sadler said.
Sadler ended her speech by calling attention to the fact that they will all be taking different paths in the future and she will measure her time at BA not in periods and semesters but in friendships made and the times they shared together.
“I have no doubt that wherever you go in life you will let the lessons you learned, the mistakes you made, and the memories you savored be a guideline for the next chapter of your life to create the future you always dreamed about. Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2020! I couldn’t imagine spending my high school years with a better group of people!” Sadler said.