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CVC graduates reaching new heights share secrets to their achievements

From my office window I can see the kindergarten students leave their classrooms at the end of each day. Their energy, even still at 3 p.m., causes a verse from Malachi 4 to pop into my head, “…You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” I wonder if the same is true for high school seniors as they step off the graduation platform, move their tassel over and watch for family members in the crowds at commencement. Maybe no one leapt off the stage, but you can bet summertime feels like a kind of freedom after four y ears of high school.

Additionally, and more importantly, graduating from Central Valley Christian High School means making room for growing up and going on to bigger things! For 2016 CVC graduate and salutatorian Sara Valceschini, graduating gives her the opportunity to attend Weber Honors College at San Diego State University. She plans to major in Marketing and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on the Spanish language. Her eventual goal is to become an international marketer for global business. The 2016 Salutatorian also noted that CVC math teacher Mr. Byrd has been a great influence on her during high school. He taught her to continue to strive for her goals and learn from her mistakes.

Sara’s tip to freshmen: “Do the best you can in all that you do. Make sure to enjoy yourself along the way. When you work toward a specific goal, trust that God will lead you to what is right. Make every opportunity count because, in the end, everything will come together for good.

Mr. Byrd also helped shape CVC’s 2016 co-valedictorian Bailey Gong’s CVC experience. Bailey said of the veteran teacher, “I learned from [Mr. Byrd] the relevance of God in every aspect of life, including seemingly secular subjects such as mathematics. Perhaps the greatest thing he taught me was how to strive for excellence not to the standard of everybody else, but to the standard to which Christ calls his followers, that is, perfection.” Bailey is heading to Fresno State University for college and plans to major in Food Science, but is also considering music, business or chemistry as a course of study. His goal is to someday work in food science–processing new food products or working with dairy products.

Bailey’s parting words of advice to freshmen: “Don’t stress out. If there is something one can control, such as homework, then it will get done well as long as the will and effort are there. If there is something one cannot control, such as life problems, then nothing can be done to change it, so it must be left to God.”

CVC’s 2016 co-valedictorian Shani Slabber will attend UCLA in the fall, and plans to major in Biochemistry. While her future plans aren’t set in stone, Shani would like to work in some aspect of the medical field. Throughout high school, Shani’s parents have been her foundation. They have taught her how to remain optimistic through challenging times and to trust God’s plan. While at CVC, Shani has been involved in track and field, soccer, cross country and her tennis–and her teammates can attest to her encouragement and enthusiasm–both on the field and off. According to Shani, she has had amazing coaches and teachers that have shown her how to be a leader and have been a continual source of support.

Shani says to incoming freshmen: “Make the most of the opportunity of being at a great school like CVC. Work hard at all you do to make the most of your gifts, but also focus on building lasting relationships–these are what you truly take with you when you leave.”

As I review these (requested) pieces of wisdom given by our knowledgeable seniors, a few words and ideas jump out: Opportunity. Gifts. Work. Trust. It’s clear that these three students have taken the 2015-16 theme of Living the Story to heart, and have put their love for Christ into action.

As we send off these graduates, and the entire class of 2016, we hope and pray that they will continue to speak about what they have seen and heard, and the ways they’ve experienced Christ at CVC. May they, and may we all, strive to keep living the story in our communities and beyond.

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