A family atmosphere
With kindergarten through 12th grade all under one roof, Birchwood Christian School students know the entire student body, not just their classmates.
And that’s what they love about it.
“Knowing everyone’s name. I love it,” said recent graduate Ariel Rud.
Rud was one of 13 BCS seniors who received their diploma at the school May 17. The Class of 2013 is Birchwood’s largest graduating class.
Two sets of siblings — Ariel Rud, David Rud, Mike Rud, Jordan Duplessis and Caleb Dupliessis — account for five of the graduates.
All of them will be missed, said superintendent Laura Rud, mother to all three Rud graduates.
“They’re a great class,” she said. “A great group of kids.”
Salutatorian Alan Jackson, too, likes the family atmosphere Birchwood offers.
“I’ll miss all the students here, not just my classmates,” he said. “We have those close family ties.”
The same goes for the student-teacher relationships. Being a small private school, teachers know their students on a more personal level, said graduate Susan King.
“I’ll miss how openly honest they were with you,” she said. “They’re more like your family.”
In BCS teacher Chris Smith’s keynote address, he likened graduating to hiking Crow Pass — a 24-mile trek from Girdwood to the Eagle River Nature Center.
Parents should be used like trekking poles, Smith said. Use them for support.
Crossing Eagle River is easier as a group, Smith said. Locking arms with your fellow hikers — a.k.a. leaning on friends and family — will prevent you from falling.
Smith urged the graduates to appreciate the blessings along the trail.
“Enjoy the discovery of your path,” he said.
Smith said he’s eager to find out what the future holds for the Class of 2013.
“Each of you have special traits,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting to see where you go.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.