Monday, May 9, 2016

Honor the Grads 2016 - Osceola County

The 1st annual Honor the Grads ceremony was held at Cornerstone Church in St. Cloud on Monday evening, May 9th. This prestigious award was created and sponsored by the St. Johns County Christian Educators network in 1998. After visiting their impactful program for the last few years, my daughter wondered why we didn't have such an event in Osceola County. Now we do! 

The purpose of this program is to honor two seniors from each high school for outstanding demonstration of living out his/her faith during his/her high school years and being an excellent role model for his/her fellow Christian students.  The incredible part of the award is that they were recognized and selected by their peers!

11 of the 12 award winners were present to share their favorite verse, their plans for the future and a testimony of how God is working in their lives. The graduates are listed from six of our high schools below. (Six high schools were chosen because the have an active Christian club on their campus - FCA). Each grads received a beautiful medallion, a certificate and a $100 scholarship.

Favorite verses shared by the students included:

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Phil 3:20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Matt. 6:34-35Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matt. 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Gal. 5:22-23But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Phil 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Matthew 5:44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

John 3:16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The graduates future plans ranged from going in to the Navy as a Master Sergeant, attending Southeastern University, Valencia and Samford University, accomplishing things on the bucket list and starting a church! Others are going on mission trips and even hoping to be a 4 star general by the age of 40.

Listening to their testimonies invigorated the adults who came to support them. Some shared how influential their coaches and teachers have been and aspire to become an educator and/or administrator to help students understand the importance of having good grades and taking school seriously. Others were quite surprised to received the award while others shared that they had been bullied most of their life, but showed how knowing the Word and God pulled them through. One of the grads shared that when he was bullied, he learned to pray for his enemies and he was able to come through depression and anxiety. One of the grads was close to suicide, but heard God's voice to stop. Although it took a few weeks to really see what God meant, he was miraculously saved.

Some of the advice that the grads gave was:
  • Make God your first priority. 
  • Don't ever doubt what God can do.
  • Without God, there is no real success.
  • Each one, teach one.
  • Love those who hate you.
  • Sports teaches us life.
  • The more we trust Him, the more we can do.
  • Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you can see God.
One of the grads came late because he was feeding the homeless and another couldn't come because she was teaching swim lessons and couldn't let her kids down. That's the kind of integrity that gives us all hope in the next generation. 

Special thanks to the Cornerstone team for the great worship music and the awesome tech and facilities. Thank you Eddie Cortes for your energy as MC and love for the students. Thank you parents for your fine job with these exceptional students and to all the FCA students that came out to support the grads.

This event was sponsored by the Christian Educators network of Osceola County. #honorthegrads

As always, I am
Prayerfully yours,

PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement and Around the Word in 180 Days:
      Go to  and for more information.
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page and the Around the World in 180 days Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind

May God bless you with success His way this 2015-2016 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.

Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school. 

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