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Class of 2024 Urged to “Go Forth With Gratitude” at Baccalaureate


Clockwise from top left: Speaker Zion Evans ’20; pastor Christopher Edmonston; Eva Haralambakis ’24; members of the Class of 2024

Seniors and their families gathered at Christ Baptist Church on Thursday, May 23, for the Class of 2024’s Baccalaureate. The event featured two speakers: Ravenscroft alum Zion Evans ’20, who recently graduated from East Carolina University, and Christopher Edmonston, pastor at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh.

Upper School Spanish teacher Maria Rodriguez gave the invocation, which reflected the importance of the service for graduates and their families. “Let us take a moment to reflect on the journey that has led us to this moment …. Let us be present in this moment, as we come to the realization that we are close to saying our goodbyes and there are people in this community whom we are really going to miss,” she said. “Let us be grateful for the opportunities that lie ahead, cherishing the bonds that hold us together and will continue to connect us all.”

The assembly was then welcomed by Head of School Doreen Kelly, who further framed the afternoon’s purpose. “While at Ravenscroft, we hope that three big questions have been contemplated as we have invited all in our community to explore at some level: Who am I? Where do I come from? What is my purpose?” she said. “This evening represents an opportunity through this service to express our appreciation and gratitude for the blessings of this journey at Ravenscroft and to express our hope for the days ahead.”

Next, two students shared scripture readings from their faith perspectives. Aryan Ghodrat ’24, sharing from his Baháʼí faith, said, “Do some good to every person whose path ye crosseth and be of some benefit to him. For love is light, no matter in what abode it dwelleth; and hate is darkness, no matter where it may make its nest.” Shakira Qian ’24 read from the Christian scripture, drawing from Philippians 3 to note, “We must all focus on what the future has in store for us without letting the burdens of our past weigh us down.”

Following a performance of “The Parting Glass” by the Class of 2024’s members of the Concert Choir, SGA president Anna Haywood ’24 introduced Evans, whose sister, Moriah ’24, was among the seniors. He spoke of his own fond memories of Ravenscroft and expressed gratitude to the school for preparing him well for the challenges of college. He asked the families of the Class of 2024 to stand so they might be thanked for their support and encouragement of their students. He then spoke of his experiences at ECU before telling the soon-to-be graduates:

As you embark on this next exciting phase of your life, remember to embrace every experience, both good and bad. There will come a time when you wish you could go back and relive these moments, so cherish them while you can.

Always remember that each of you is special and unique. You are the authors of your own stories. No dream is unattainable, and the only person you should compare yourself to is who you were yesterday. Strive to be the best version of yourself every day. God has a plan for each of you, and it’s up to you to write your legacy.

Clockwise from top: The assembly, including faculty in academic regalia; Eva Moser ’24 with members of her family; Malachi Ogwangi ’24 with members of his family

The assembly then sang “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” Next, Jane McNeill ’24 introduced Edmonston, who is the pastor at her church.

Edmonston drew from a number of sources in speaking to the Class of 2024: Kelly, recent Duke University commencement speaker Jerry Seinfeld, Ted Lasso and the Gospel of Matthew. He closed:

By virtue of your graduation from this wonderful school, you all, Class of 2024, are expected to use your gifts and talents for the betterment of this state, country and world. You will be in our prayers as you lead in big ways and small ways. What the world needs more than anything is servant-leaders who work hard, fall in love, who can laugh at themselves, who are proximate to people and ideas, who dare to seek and find purpose and meaning, who dedicate themselves to knowing and doing better, and who follow the great moral lessons passed onto us through generations and who love others through their leadership. Each of you possesses the potential to do these things and more.

The benediction was given by senior class president Nick Gillespie ’24. He said to his classmates, “As we think about the time we have left, let’s make sure to invest it in time with our friends, our family and even our pets. I bet that in the next year we’ll realize that what we miss the most are those who make us laugh, those who make us feel like ourselves and those who we care about. Showing your appreciation doesn’t take money, because the time you invest in someone is priceless. Memories don’t cost a thing, and when we’re away and thinking about what we miss, those memories are the gift that we’ll have to lean on for comfort.”

This story was updated on May 31. View the program here. View and download photos from the event on our Flickr page.