Graduation Speech

Spoken January 23, 1946 – Oakdale Christian School – Grand Rapids, Michigan


Teachers, parents, friends:

It is my privilege and my pleasure, in the name of the class of 1946, to speak to you a few words of appreciation and farewell.

We are happy and proud, of course, to have come to this evening, – at last, and yet so soon.

We are happy and proud to be graduating. Not as if there is no sorrow mingled with the happiness, for there is. We realize only too well that this pleasant and carefree part of our lives is gone forever and that these grammar school days will never return. However, graduation represents the reaching of a goal, of an important milestone in life. For ten long years, – short now they are past, – we have studied in anticipation of this evening. Now it is come, and you will understand that we are happy and proud.

We are happy and proud, especially, that we may be graduating from a Christian school; a school wherein the Bible is read not only, but is founded on the Word of God; a school that recognizes that God alone is GOD and that all things must be to His glory; a school wherein the children of God’s covenant are trained in the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of all true knowledge and wisdom. We recognize that herein especially we have been blessed beyond anything we shall ever be able to appreciate.

As far as the record of our class is concerned, we may be brief. Ours was only a normal class, like all that went before and all that will follow. That we were better than the average class we dare not say. That we were worse we refuse to believe. Of one accomplishment we have reason to be proud: twice our class won the paper drive in the Junior High division of our school. That, at least, gives testimony of some measure of cooperation. Of that cooperation we are proud tonight.

“Onward forever, with God as our Guide” is the motto our class has chosen for itself. By it we have tried to express some of the important truths taught in our Christian homes and church and school. Life, as it lies before us, is like an uncharted wilderness. We must go onward, we desire to go onward, we shall go onward, – in schools of higher education first, then through life itself. Of ourselves we can never do this. We do not know what lies ahead, nor what is best for us. We need a guide; a guide who knows the way; a guide who is able to see us safely through and to make all things work together for our good. May we live according to this motto, trust in Him, always seek His guidance in prayer, and walk by the light of His Word, which alone is the light upon our pathway and the lamp before our feet.

And now, we prepare to leave our alma mater, allow us to express our sincere gratitude to those directly responsible for the education we might receive during these years now past.

To our school board, which is not on the foreground as a rule, but which labored without ceasing in our behalf, we express our heartfelt appreciation.

To our principal and teachers we want to say: never can we thank you enough for all your efforts in our behalf, for your patience, your labors and your interest in our true welfare. Not always did we cooperate as was our duty. In as far as it is possible to make amends tonight we beg you to forgive and to forget, and may our memories of one another become sweeter as the years go by.

And last, but not least, we thank you, our parents. We realize that Christian instruction means sacrifice for you. May those sacrifices not have been in vain. May we, your children, be faithful to the instruction it was our privilege to receive and walk in that fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom. That, we know, will reward you beyond anything mere words can ever express.

Above all, our thanks to God, from Whom all blessings flow, and Whose should be all praise and thanksgiving, now and forever.

The class of 1946 desires to express in a tangible way by presenting to our school this check for $325.00 toward the purchase of a new motion picture machine and screen. May this instrument be used only in a way that is in harmony with the ideals of a Christian school.