Harford Christian graduation 2012

Brianna Coleman accepts her diploma from Dr. John McKnight during Friday evening's Harford Christian School graduation ceremony. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Patuxent Homestead / June 3, 2012)

Even with the threat of tornadoes and severe weather, Harford Christian's 2012 Commencement carried on Friday evening with the largest graduating class in the school's history.

Kicking off the evening was senior Vincent Wilson, who gave the welcoming address to family members, faculty and classmates.

Vincent thanked all who attended Friday evening at the Darlington school and asked for continued prayer, so that the 50 graduating seniors may seek the Kingdom of God first.

Principal Bryan Wilson spoke as well, giving a tribute to Alan Stambaugh, a Harford Christian School employee who recently died from cancer. He also mentioned that the graduation class, which totaled at50 seniors, was the largest class to graduate.


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Wilson introduced the salutatorian and valedictorian for their speeches, seniors Sarah Miller and Lydia Moore, who graduated with a 4.18 grade point average.

With her self professed love of photography, Sarah compared the seniors' lives to that point with several camera terms. First, she said, was the focus, when their parents helped them to concentrate on God and their academics. Then, Sarah said, their teachers at Harford Christian were like the lighting necessary for every photograph, clearing the fog of their minds.

In her valedictory address, Lydia, who said she is a future English major in college, compared life to a book, calling God the author. This chapter is full of memories, she added, assuring students that God has written each chapter of their lives.

State Sen. Bryan Simonaire, who represents Anne Arundel County, said something very similar during his commencement address, urging the seniors to trust God 100 percent. After telling the audience several stories where God built his trust, many of which dealing with his time in Saudi Arabia, Simonaire told the seniors to seek God first in order to find true happiness.

"The bottom line is, God is trustworthy," he said.

Likewise, Darius Martin, 17, and Travis Henderson, 17, both said they were excited graduation was finally upon them, but Darius said it was "kind of happy and kind of sad." Darius is headed into the National Guard to help pay for college and plans to attend St. Mary's University for a double major in chemistry and applied physics, as well as a minor in computer science.

Travis is going to Liberty University to play baseball and study exercise science in hopes of taking over his grandfather's business someday.

"I like the location," Travis said of the Lynchburg, Va., school. "I like what the college stands for."

Megan Joines, 18, Kaitlyn Dorney, 18, and Sara Karschner, 18, all said they were excited and nervous to be graduating from Harford Christian and moving on to Cecil College. They will all be taking general studies to start and said they will miss seeing their friends daily.

Zachary Gischel, 18, is headed to Cecil College, as well, in pursuit of a medical major.

"There will always be jobs there," he said.

Zachary, along with Luke Steelman, 17, and Morgan Landreth, 18, said they would miss seeing all of their friends after graduation. Morgan will be taking classes at Harford Community College, and Luke will be attending Olivet Nazarene University for sports management.

During the ceremony, senior Brad Testerman gave a performance on his saxophone, playing "Meditation," from the opera "Thais." Before commencement, Brad, 17, said he plans to attend Peabody Conservatory to pursue a degree in music edition.

"I love music and I figured that was a good way to spend the rest of my life," he said.

With Brad were Melissa Freeman, 17, and Bethany Garner, also 17. Both girls are headed to Essex Community College, they said, Melissa to take general studies and Bethany to study for a veterinary assistant's degree, as well as one in elementary education.

All three said they would miss various friends and teachers but were looking forward to graduating, although both Melissa and Brad said they were still processing it.

"It doesn't feel like we're actually leaving," Melissa said.