SCHROON LAKE - Mountainside Christian Academy held its 33rd commencement exercises June 12.
The graduation ceremony began with pledges of allegiance to the American flag, the Christian flag and the Bible and the corporate singing of America the Beautiful. After the Rev. David Peterson delivered the invocation and welcome, the ceremony was momentarily interrupted as he recognized Principal Constance Phillips for her 25 years of service to Mountainside Christian Academy.
Phillips then introduced each of the graduates in the order. George Theis, representing Word of Life International, then presented each student with a Bible.
Kevin Fortier delivered the salutatory address with a charge to his fellow classmates to persevere as they move on and are faced with life's challenges. He commented that Mountainside had prepared the class both academically and spiritually and that God would help them through whatever they may face in life.
After the salutatory address, the graduates, following a long standing tradition, presented their parents with a certificate of thanks. Afterward, the school's Praise Team, under the direction of eleventh grade student, Robert Hungerford, performed two musical numbers for the audience.
Rachel Paris executed the valedictorian address, expressing to the audience how "the people we choose to surround ourselves with every day have an unfathomable effect on each of our lives." She challenged the seniors to choose their friends wisely, not allowing the negative influence of others to cause them to lower their standard or compromise their values.
Paris concluded her speech by reminding her classmates how each one of them has the ability to influence the life of another and should "be the best friend we can be and make a lasting difference in the lives of those around us."
Paul Mieras, soccer and basketball coach at MCA, delivered the graduation address. He shared with the seniors five steps to adhere to as they make the next step in their lives - fill themselves with God's word, listen to their parents, find godly people with whom they can share their concerns, stay away from situations that would cause them to compromise their standards and, lastly, "do it God's way."
Phillips, Peterson and chairman of the Deacon Board at Mountainside Bible Chapel Don Reichard presented the diplomas. Following the ceremony, a reception was held in the school's gymnasium. Each senior had a table of memorabilia from their childhood and their years at MCA. The evening concluded with a short program that consisted of a question and answer time for the seniors regarding their school years and their future plans as well as a farewell video highlighting their special memories together during their senior year at Mountainside Christian Academy.