Sixteenth Graduation a Grand Success!
Graduation week began by the Class of 2015 traveling to Washington, D.C. for their class trip. They departed on the previous Friday and were able to perform Sabbath music for the combined church congregations in Maryland. They then toured our Capitol City on Saturday evening and Sunday before returning to the Ambassador Bible College Campus late on Monday evening. For many, this was the first opportunity to visit Washington, D.C.
After two days of classes they had a graduation dinner/dance at Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant. With round tables of nine, the students and faculty were able to converse through dinner and then have fun dancing for about two hours to the music of DJs Prisca Myers and David Kovalchik. During the evening, gifts were presented to students for exceptional service. Christopher Herrmann received a certificate and gift card for perfect attendance through the nine months. Carson Whynaucht received an Ohio Starbucks Mug and a gift card for her service as volunteer assistant to Mr. Antion.
The Student Council presented individual gifts to the faculty and staff as a token of their appreciation. Gary Antion called Kathy de Campos to the front of the room and presented her with an Ambassador Bible College logo watch for her many years of service to ABC and to him as Assistant for Admissions and Registration.
As this is the last year as a full-time instructor, the students also presented Mr. and Mrs. Antion with flowers and a photo album with all of the sixteen classes that they were privileged to work with in the first sixteen years of ABC.
On Sabbath, President Victor Kubik delivered the baccalaureate sermon to the graduating students of Ambassador Bible College. Mr. Kubik explained that baccalaureate meant farewell and he wanted to leave them with valuable insights as a farewell message. Throughout the sermon he would interject several of the first names of the graduating class which was effective in personalizing the message.
He proceeded to explain the new mission statement: “The Mission of Ambassador Bible College, sponsored by the United Church of God,aIA, is to diligently uphold and faithfully teach the truths of God, as found in the Bible, to equip disciples of Jesus Christ for a life of faithfulness and godly service.” Mr. Kubik explained that the emphasis is on being grounded in the truth and being faithful to those teachings. As disciples of Jesus Christ, they will be rendering godly service to all.
President Kubik also emphasized the importance of continuing to study the Word of God – the Truth! He said we need to Face the Truth, Live the Truth, Be Changed by the Truth and Pass on the Truth. He quoted Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:13. He urged students to uphold the highest standards (2 Corinthians 5:10) as we will be held accountable for our actions.
Mr. Kubik referred to Galatians 6:4 - “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
He concluded the sermon by encouraging the students that we need them to help and serve as they are able within the congregations to which they will return. He asked them to keep in touch and reminded the class how pleased he was with them as the first class to graduate from Ambassador Bible College (now that the name has been changed).
Sunday, May 17, was graduation day. Dean of Faculty, Steve Myers, Kathy and Jorge de Campos with the assistance of several ABC Alumni set up and decorated the Ambassador Lecture Hall for graduation – and it was beautiful. Three exceptional cakes were decorated and lettered with Congratulations to the Class of 2015 of Ambassador Bible College. After the introduction and welcome by Dean of the Faculty, Steve Myers, Dr. Frank Dunkle gave the invocation. Mark-Phillip Pebworth brought the student address and reminded students of their service this year and encouraged them to make up the hedge wherever needed to help bring success to any circumstance in their Christian lives.
After a stirring ABC Chorale presentation of two beautiful and meaningful songs led by Director Kenneth Shoemaker and accompanied on the piano by Garrett Fenchel, ABC Coordinator, Gary Antion delivered the graduation address. His theme was “Let Your Light Shine.” He showed what light is and how God’s first command was bringing light into the world. And, how God is the Father of lights and we are children of light and are expected to let our lights shine. Mr. Antion then gave seven brief points on how to let our lights shine. He concluded with Proverbs 4:18 and urged the students to let their lights shine brighter and brighter until the day of God’s Kingdom. As a remembrance of this graduation, he provided each student with a small flashlight on a key ring and a summary sheet of the seven points.
Mr. Antion concluded with telling the class that they will be missed and that he and his wife loved them and wished them God’s blessings and support in all their futures.
Awards were then presented. The Ambassador Excellence Award was presented by President Kubik to Jaclyn Michele Wilson and Mark-Phillip Lee Pebworth. Mr. Aaron Dean, representing the Council of Elders, presented the COE Service Award to Susan Calhoun and Brandon John Slocum. The awards are a plaque with clock attached and $250 cash award for each recipient.
The diploma presentation followed with 30 students receiving diplomas in Biblical Studies from Ambassador Bible College. Mr. Steve Myers recommended the students and Mr. Kubik conferred the diplomas. Mr. Aaron Dean read the names of each student who marched across the stage with diploma in hand. After the last name was announced the audience gave a rousing applause for all.
Mr. Darris McNeely gave the benediction and the music began as the students were led out of the hall by monitor Sarena Fenger (2013 Ambassador Excellence Award recipient). Then it was time to “party.” Students were each given a balloon in gold or purple to release outside on the lawn as families and friends gathered to observe. Then it was on to the delicious cakes – Opera Cream, White Chocolate Raspberry Romance and Carrot Cake were the flavors. Champagne and sparkling grape juice were also served as celebratory treats for the grand occasion.
Students said their good byes amid tears and hugs as they had completed their nine months of instruction in the Scriptures. The Class of 2015 will certainly be missed for their cheerful enthusiasm and for making a difference in this church area.
Special thanks to Mr. Steve Myers, Mr. and Mrs. Jorge de Campos and all the ABC Alumni who served so diligently in making this graduation a grand one!
This graduation concludes the full-time service of Gary Antion as ABC Coordinator and Professor. After sixteen years at ABC, Mr. Antion will retire and hand the baton into the capable hands of Dr. Frank Dunkle who will become the next ABC Coordinator as of July 1. He has already been learning to do that role in the previous months. All will continue and ABC will move forward as an institution of higher learning in the Scriptures and related topics.
Gary E. Antion