MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon Academy’s 112th graduating class commenced Sunday morning with a class of 35 students. The school, the largest operating boarding academy in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, also took the occasion to salute outgoing principal David Daniels, who served from 2005, and teacher Linda Taber, who has taught since 1998. Both were presented with Eagle statuettes and greeted with a standing ovation from the audience.
Class President Laurence Downing addressed the students, asking “What is Mount Vernon Academy?” Gesturing to his classmates, he told them that they were the Academy and always would be, no matter where life takes them. Downing shared stories of special moments over the years at the school where he and his classmates had gotten to know each other more closely, or as Downing put it, getting to know “the real gifts, beneath the wrapping paper.” He encouraged his classmates to keep helping others as they had helped him.
“It’s the simple acts of love that people remember,” Downing said.
Daniels who was also the school’s perosonal finance teacher, gave the commencement address, which compared spiritual opportunities to financial opportunities. He advised students to know their spiritual “net worth,” whether they were being spiritual assets or liabilities to others.
Daniels then when through the students one-by-one, giving a personal recollection or bit of advice to each one of them.
“I thank you for the impact you’ve had in my life,” Daniels said.
The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon/Knox County’s $1,000 Donald A. Page Scholarship was presented to Laurence Downing, as was the Clark and Lucy Biggs Agricultural Scholarship, also worth $1,000. The Ohio High School Athletic Association Scholar/Athlete Award was presented to Katherine Roddy and Emily Buckner. Numerous academic scholarships were granted by Seventh Day Adventist-affiliated colleges and universities, including an ACT Merit Scholarship for 75 percent of tuition to Columbia Union College awarded to Laurence Downing and an ACT Merit Scholarship for 50 percent of tuition to the same school awarded to Genevieve Cuva. Other notable scholarships included a $32,000 award to Fredrick Woodruff from Andrews University, $40,000 scholarships to Oakwood College for Ayana Miller and Culo Ncube.
The graduating students were proud and excited to have succeeded at Mount Vernon Academy.
“This is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life,” said Asher Grogan, “I’m so honored to be here, in this place, Mount Vernon.”
Musical interludes were provided throughout the program by a number of talented student performers. Richard Talbert and Joshua Burt performed an original song, Vanity Rahmon sang “This Too Shall Pass,” and Courtney Wright sang “Held.” Class Valedictorian was Katherine Roddy and High Honors went to Emily Buckner, Laurence Downing, Amanda Erskine and Culo Ncube. Ten of the graduating seniors represented the second or third generation of their family to attend Mount Vernon Academy.