New Life Christian School graduates reflect on connections they made

May 25—Signs with the pictures and names of the 14 graduating seniors of the New Life Christian School lined the driveway to the school's campus outside Frederick for the school's commencement Thursday night.

Inside one of the school's buildings, the graduates gathered in a classroom and adjusted their mortarboards. They shared a few final conversations and jokes before they walked across the stage in the gymnasium.

The finality of graduation hadn't hit Lexi Standford, who has attended the school since she was in kindergarten.

When you think of it as 13 years, it seems like a long time, but it also went by fast, she said.

"All my life that I've been here, it's over," she said.

She plans on spending as much time as she can with friends over the summer before she heads to Grove City College in Pennsylvania. There, she'll play volleyball and plans to major in communications and minor in marketing.

Diana Smith is another of the class's three members who attended New Life for her entire school career.

It will be weird not coming to the campus every day, she said.

The small group of seniors have their own friends, but they also hang out outside of school, she said.

Smith plans to go to Frederick Community College for a year before transferring to a four-year school, where she wants to major in fashion merchandising.

She wants to stay in touch with the friends she's made in high school.

"I have those people that I can always count on because they're always been there for me," she said.

Having a small class lets students get to know and interact with everyone, said Phoebe Fulks, the class's salutatorian, who also had attended the school since kindergarten.

"I'm not just graduating from high school. I'm graduating from being here," Fulks said.

She plans to attend Liberty University and is deciding on a major.

Jacob Brunk was a relative newcomer to the school compared to Standford, Smith, and Fulks, having attended since fourth grade.

He hopes to become a professional firefighter in Montgomery County.

It will be odd not seeing everyone from school every day, he said.

Brunk said he likes the smaller school because it gave him a chance to get to know everyone, including many teachers.

Jazmine de la Barra, the class's valedictorian, has been at the school since sixth grade.

At times, she would have liked to have gone to a bigger school, but she also liked the intimacy of a smaller class, she said.

Members of the senior class definitely rely on each other a lot, de la Barra said.

She said her favorite class was probably biology. She will attend Towson University and plans to go into nursing.

The class has overcome obstacles, both educational and otherwise, Pastor Abe Pfeifer, the school's superintendent, told the graduates once they had gathered in the gymnasium with their friends and family.

He challenged them to continue to overcome obstacles they face as they move through life.

"Overcoming is about more than just surviving," Pfeifer said. "Overcoming is about making a difference."

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