The Lipscomb Academy Graduation for the Class of 2013 was held in Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena on Saturday, May 18.
Founded in 1891, Lipscomb Academy was renamed (formerly David Lipscomb Campus School) on June 1, 2012, making the Class of 2013 the first class to
graduate from Lipscomb Academy.
Ritchie Pickens, Middle School Assistant Principal, who served as Master of Ceremonies at the graduation, hailed the class of 131 students as “the most accomplished senior class in the history of the school.” Among the members of the class are two National Merit Finalists, a student with a perfect SAT Score, a National Achievement Finalist, several athletic state champions and NCAA Division I athletic scholarship signees. Thanks to the leadership of 32 senior members, the Concert Chorus scored the highest grade in both the regional and state adjudication festivals. Most of those seniors were in the chorus all fours years of high school, and 12 were selected to All State or All Region choruses.
Dr. Jim Thomas, Executive Assistant to Lipscomb University President, Dr. L. Randolph Lowry, opened the graduation ceremony by congratulating the class and said “this is just the start, you are now prepared to move forward with confidence.” He went on to quote Lee Ann Womack’s song, “I Hope You Dance.”
More than 40 students from the class were “Lipscomb Lifers,” students that have attended the school together since the first grade. Jerry Cover, the graduation speaker, is the father of one of those “Lifers,” Victoria Cover.
During his speech, Cover reminisced about the last twelve years watching the class grow and mature. He talked about having the opportunity to coach some of the graduates in basketball as middle school students, chaperoning class trips and taking a nature walk with some of the students at sunrise when they were in the sixth grade. “Quite honestly, we couldn’t get enough of you; thank you for the memories,” said Cover as he addressed the class.
Cover also spoke to the class about freedom. He explained to the class that he knew they had been thinking about the freedom ahead of them; freedom to make decisions to choose new friends, churches and career paths. He encouraged the students to “stay free in Christ” as they go out into the world. He told them not to get distracted by success, pride or guilt, but to simply stay free.
Cover then showed the students a video clip from the fall of 2012. The video was from the last home football game of the season. That game, which put the Mustangs in the playoffs, was also the last home football game for longtime Lipscomb Academy Head Football Coach, Glenn McCadams. “Coach Mac” was diagnosed and lost his battle with cancer in the spring of 2013. Cover reminded the students of the legacy Coach Mac left of living free in Christ. Referring back to the video, Cover told the students to “pursue your life with as much enthusiasm and joy” as they had that October night, as they rushed from the sidelines to celebrate with the team as the final seconds of the game ticked away.
After Cover addressed the class, the Lipscomb Academy Awards for Christian Character were announced. The three awards are named after Lipscomb Academy students from years past. This year the students honored were Lauren McCollum (JJ Share Award), Han Na Kim (Shannon Neely Award) and Cody Stubblefield and Clark Fraser (Jim McMeen Awards).
Before the awarding of diplomas, Sharon Tracey, 2013 Lipscomb Academy High School Teacher of the Year and soon to be retiree after 40 years of service, addressed the class. She urged the students to remember relationships as they build their lives. She told them to focus on family, church and God. She then read a poem by Will Allen Dromgoole, called The Bridge Builder.
The poem talks about an old man crossing a chasm, which he will never have to cross again. When he gets to the other side, he builds a bridge. A passerby asks the old man why he is building a bridge he will never use and the old man explains that he is building the bridge for those who come after him. Tracey encouraged the class to be bridge builders.
As the members of the class crossed the stage to receive their diplomas, fine arts faculty member, Elizabeth Harrell, read three character attributes provided by the academy faculty describing each graduate.
To end the ceremony, Dr. Michael Hammond, Lipscomb Academy Headmaster, charged the students with believing in their God-given talents and officially conferred the diplomas of the Lipscomb Academy graduates.