Vail Christian High School graduates 27 seniors
EDWARDS — Quoting the murdered rapper 2Pac, Vail Christian administrator Patrick Beaudine on Saturday told seniors to remember it’s hard to live without God.
“Jesus is your best friend,” Beaudine said. “And I’m not talking about the little wimpy Jesus … I’m talking about the Jesus that took on the political structure, I’m talking about Jesus that took on the power structure, the money, the elite.”
Beaudine was selected by Vail Christian High School seniors to deliver the speech that would send the graduating class of 27 students off into the next phase of their lives. That class included standouts like Salutatorian Cooper Gould, who will be receiving the prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship to Texas Christian University, and Valedictorian Christina Cheesman, who leaves Vail Christian with a 4.62 grade point average. It was football team captain Max Schramm, however, who Beaudine referenced to most in his speech.
“As I began to think of speakers that I would want to hear … a surprising name came to mind,” Beaudine said. “The speaker that I would want to hear is Max Schramm … A Max Schramm speech is compelling, it is intriguing, it is obviously hysterical, it’s encouraging, it’s uplifting, it’s slightly alarming, it’s unpredictable, but it does the thing that good speeches always do: It leaves the audience wanting more.”
The event began with an original composition from graduating senior Mary Sweet, who also left the audience wanting more with her three-and-a-half minute song entitled “The first step toward your life.”
The song contained the following lyrics, which she sang while playing the piano:
You look back on your life some day
You have fallen, you have made mistakes
But don’t spend your life wishing on a fallen star
You were made to carry scars
IT AIN’T EASY BEING CHEESMAN
Student speakers included Gould and Cheesman, who entertained the audience with stories from their experiences at Vail Christian.
Gould compared the Class of 2015’s new senior lounge — with its many windows allowing underclassmen to see what was taking place inside — to a passage from the book of Matthew.
“The transparency of the lounge also fostered a new sense of responsibility,” Gould said. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill can not be hidden.”
Cheesman said writing her speech was one of the most challenging things she did in her high school career.
“And honestly, standing here now, it’s more terrifying than I imagined it would be,” she said.
Encouraging her fellow students to “take a leap of faith,” Cheesman talked about one of her heroes, Captain Joe Kittinger, who flew a foil balloon nearly 20 miles into the stratosphere in 1960.
“And then, armed only with a parachute and an oxygen tank, he jumped out. He fell for 4 minutes and 6 seconds, reaching a speed of 740 miles per hour before opening his parachute 3 miles above the earth. It had never been done before,” she said.
LETTING LOOSE ON BRUCE
Cheesman, Gould and Beaudine all referenced math teacher Doug Bruce in their speeches.
“You guys are going to walk out of here with a Vail Christian High School diploma, and guys, that means something,” Beaudine said. “It’s not easy being in a small school where you gotta work your tails off. You can’t hide, you’ve got to work. You’ve got to somehow get through calculus with Mr. Bruce.”
Cheesman said Bruce kept her from “going insane.”
Gould said he learned a great lesson from Bruce, who types with two fingers.
“Over the years, the parallels between Mr. Bruce’s typing and high school hit me,” Gould said. “Aren’t we all like Mr. Bruce, blindly searching for the keys of success so that we can hopefully, one day, write our own feature?”
But it wasn’t all about the students. Parents were saluted, as well.
“I want to congratulate you for getting your son or daughter to this point,” Beaudine told parents at Vail Christian on Saturday. “That is quite an accomplishment you’ve worked your tails off, you’ve sacrificed, you’ve advocated for your students.”
Landscaping and construction, while honorable professions, could not contain Cole Greenfield’s dreams. He wanted to be a worldwide ecotourism guide based in Iceland.