Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
press photo by stephen althouseLVCHS graduate Tiara Hernandez after receiving her diploma from Lehigh Valley Christian HS during the 2019 commencement June 8. Copyright - Copyright 2009 press photo by stephen althouseLVCHS graduate Tiara Hernandez after receiving her diploma from Lehigh Valley Christian HS during the 2019 commencement June 8. Copyright - Copyright 2009

‘Everyone here becomes like family’

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 by STEPHEN ALTHOUSE Special to the Bethlehem Press in School

“We’re too small, if only we were bigger.”

The sentence, spoken during the 2019 Lehigh Valley Christian HS commencement address, could summarize the plight of any school which features a graduating class of six. Thoughts turn, the speaker noted, to what we don’t have instead of what we do have.

“But remember, while we are small, we are small with God,” added commencement speaker Henry Crush.

The 31st LVCHS commencement, held June 8 at Bethlehem First Church of the Nazarene, began with a rendition of the hymn, “To God Be The Glory,” followed by a scripture reading by graduate Tiara Hernandez, featuring Mark 8:36-38’s question “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his soul?”

Graduate Elijah Sumner then offered a welcome to the audience and personal remarks.

“Everyone here becomes like a family,” he said in recalling his LVCHS experience. “...It was an honor to be a part of this class.”

Graduates Haley Althouse, the valedictorian, Serenity Horon, the salutatorian, Sumner and Hernandez were then addressed by Alex Sackey, the school’s principal, and Bob Walsh, the secretary of LVCHS’s board of directors. The administrators then dispensed awards and recognitions to the graduates. Two other members of the class – Jinze Su and Kyu Min Lee – did not attend the ceremony.

Althouse and Horon then engaged in “A Conversation” during the program, a feature Walsh called “a little out of the box.” It was an alternatively humorous and serious review of their high school careers, which included good-natured questioning of the school’s dress code.

Crush’s commencement address was also equal parts humorous and contemplative. He noted a few personal experiences to summarize their educational experiences and small class size. As a young man, Crush noted, he too had graduated from a small Christian high school before enrolling at Bloomsburg University. During his first few weeks in college, Crush said he felt “very alone” in spite of being among thousands of undergraduate students and faculty. Eventually, however, he found other Christians and entered a Bible study group that totaled five members.

The commencement speaker told another story about his foray into high school girls basketball coaching. The school and team were small. He had but five members of the squad, barely enough to field a team. Needing a backup, he enlisted a girl who “needed an inhaler” to get up and down the court.” Crush told the audience the substitute never played until one game when her services were required after a starter fouled out.

“I told her to just stand underneath the one basket,” he recalled to chuckles of laughter from the audience. Crush’s team did not experience a “Hoosiers” ending, as that night they were roundly defeated. But the loss wasn’t the point, he said.

“God revels in the small,” Crush said. “God loves small numbers.”

The graduates received various awards and scholarships. Althouse received a total of $20,500 worth of scholarships to attend King’s College. In addition, she was recognized during the ceremony for her outstanding academic performance. Hernandez and Horon were anointed with character awards and Sumner received a total of $58,000 through two scholarships to further his studies at the State University of New York at Oswego.