HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Before they said goodbye Friday evening, members of the Emmanuel Christian School class of 2021 wanted to say thank you.
Lower School Principal Heather Atkinson told those attending the graduation ceremony held Friday evening in the worship center of Emmanuel Baptist Church that the 2021 class − even the members who had not attended the lower school − went to each teacher in the lower school and said thank you Friday morning.
Atkinson called the class more special than the typical class as a result of their gesture Friday morning.
The class continued to say thank you during the ceremony. The senior class officers presented Upper School Principal Dale Ankers and his wife, Angela, with gifts and, as is tradition, each of the 20 graduates presented their parents with gifts during the rose ceremony.
Nicholas Jordan was the class valedictorian.
His address focused on the importance of building and maintaining relationships.
“Throughout our lives, we have met and will meet family, friends, classmates, teachers, coworkers and others,” Jordan said. “And for all of them, we’ll have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships.”
Jordan plans to attend Clemson University and major in chemistry. He will enter Clemson with approximately 40 hours of college credit thanks to the dual-enrollment options offered by the school. Jordan is a National Merit Scholar Finalist and a winner of the Palmetto Scholarship. He has also won two other scholarships.
Maddie Gainey was the class salutatorian.
She encouraged her classmates to make sure to put God first, something she said she forgot to do when she was working to become class salutatorian.
She plans to attend Charleston Southern University.
Hartsville pediatrician and Emmanuel graduate Jacob Coward provided the commencement address.