The students of the Westside Christian Academy class of 2024 celebrated the completion of their classical Christian education praising God for His faithfulness in a beautiful graduation ceremony on May 17th. The graduation was the crescendo of several meaningful events which are treasured traditions for our seniors. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” For years, seniors have artfully, intentionally, and gracefully finalized their time at WCA in lovely ways. Their traditions help them to leave a legacy of deep thinking, service, gratitude, encouragement, and worship. 

Once the second semester begins, the seniors focus on preparing, writing, and defending their theses. Hours of reading, thinking, and formulating ideas culminate in a thesis paper, presentation, and defense in late April. Next, seniors mentor the junior thesis students as the juniors make final edits. After thesis presentations are complete, seniors focus on planning and participating in senior week, a week of events which includes an evening toasting their teachers, a day selecting “Senior Choice Awards” for Practicum, a senior chapel and lunch with the juniors, and graduation. They wrap up with the opportunity to return for the Head of School’s Cup house competition on the underclassmen’s last day of school. 

On the Monday before graduation, the senior class invites some of the faculty and staff to the senior toast. After enjoying hors d’oeuvres, sparkling juice, and sweet confections, seniors share prepared messages of remembrances and thanks honoring each guest. Laughter and tears are heard as the guests are humbled by the genuine sentiments which the students express. The guests then reciprocate with heartfelt memories and well-wishes in toasts for the students, ultimately concluding with prayer. The very next day, the seniors return to a busy day selecting award winners for Practicum: the 7th through 10th graders present their final projects tied to the year’s humanities curriculum (which include reflections in art and music, historical imitation speeches, a group debate, and a trial of ideas). The seniors select one award winner in each category.  

On the seniors’ last official day at school, they share a Senior Chapel, which is a treasured time of worship and thanksgiving to the Lord in which the entire Upper School participates. The seniors select worship songs and hymns, prepare messages and testimonies, decide upon Scripture to be shared, and order every detail of their last chapel as students of WCA. Following the chapel, juniors prepare and serve lunch to the seniors. On Thursday, seniors and their parents rehearse the logistics of graduation. Finally, the students, together with their guests, participate in a beautiful ceremony at the end of the week to honor the Lord for all of his faithfulness. The faculty sings Numbers 6:24-26 as a blessing over the students. The new WCA alumni are then honored at a reception. During their years at WCA, these young adults have been equipped to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10b). 

On the underclassmen’s last day of school, the graduates can return to participate with their houses one last time as the students compete for the Head of School’s Cup. This year’s competition included chariot racing and calisthenics! The graduates treasure and enjoy all the senior traditions and celebrations that help them artfully end their time at WCA.