by Gabby Rivas
This year has been a whirlwind for the seniors at Immanuel High School. Words are unable to express how quick it has gone by and how remarkable these four years have been. At the beginning of the year we were focused on homecoming week and football games. Now all our attention has been focused on the junior/senior banquet, grad day, the academic awards, the drama production, college visits, AP tests, baccalaureate, sober grad, and graduation.
With many amazing memories behind us we can’t imagine leaving this behind; now it is time to send in our statement of intent to register and say goodbye to our Immanuel family. “It’s really hard to decide. The deadline is tomorrow for all colleges and I still haven’t decided. The only peace I have right now is knowing that God won’t lead me where he doesn’t want me to go,” said Michael Bothell. Nearly everyone could agree that the most difficult thing while deciding on a college is figuring out God’s intended purpose for us.
While preparing for graduation and chatting with students, we realized we are leaving behind a massive support system. The instructors at Immanuel High School have played a significant part in our spiritual and academic journey. They form innovative lessons in order for the students to grasp the concepts quickly and understand the curriculum.
Mrs. Kriegbaum, an English teacher at Immanuel High School, has been instructing the seniors since their freshman year and knows them exceedingly well. I asked her to describe what the Class of 2014 meant to her. “They are hardworking, readers, a class of integrity, and respectful. I have loved this class from four years ago. I love this class.”
Regardless of their position, all instructors at Immanuel continually mentor and strive to build friendships with every student. “I love each of the teachers in a different way. One who has always been my favorite is Mr. Hayward because he personally invests in every single kid,” said Sadie Ascanio. Sadie continued to express how she will deeply miss Immanuel High School because in college the relationships aren’t as intimate. We both can’t imagine a year without, dancing with Mrs. Brandt, having lunch with Mrs. Kriegbaum, chatting with the librarians, watching Mr. Bucher’s physics demonstrations, going to chapel or life groups.
Sohyeon is merely one example of what an impact Immanuel has made in our lives. Sohyeon Lee is a South Korean foreign exchange student, who has attended Immanuel from 10th to 12th grade and has been an encouraging buddy of mine. We have had the pleasure of watching Sohyeon’s journey at Immanuel, academically and spiritually. When Sohyeon first arrived in America, she spoke minimal English and didn’t believe in Christianity. After two years she is extremely talkative. She told me that the greatest thing about Immanuel High School is having the ability to learn about Jesus and observing others carry out his good works. She is returning to South Korea after graduation, but assures me she will revisit Immanuel High School for our class reunion. Even though the Class of 2014 is graduating we are thankful that we can always revisit our Immanuel family.
Looking back at our final year in high school, many teachers and students have made it a remarkable experience. Mrs. Reimer, our counselor, has played an enormous role in our future. Since junior high, she has prepared us for admittance into a four-year university. As ninth graders she held a meeting for all students and parents to become familiar with UC and CSU course recommendations. She frequently posts scholarships online and visits classrooms with college information. Regardless of her schedule she is always willing to talk or answer questions. Mrs. Reimer has taught us the necessary steps in order to succeed and throughout high school I have remembered everything she has taught us.
In our interview she expressed to me how she firmly believes every student has the ability to succeed. She explained that every year it’s tough to watch students leave, but she continues to pray for all her former and current students. Mrs. Reimer’s excitement for higher education has granted my classmates and I the confidence to study anything we choose upon graduation. Without the Immanuel Staff we wouldn’t be prepared for a college education, Sohyeon wouldn’t have welcomed Jesus into her heart, and we wouldn’t be able to speak freely about our relationship with God while at school.
As graduating seniors, we are grateful that this school has taught us to persevere, aim for excellence, and have faith in God. Regardless of our current society, we have been taught to follow the word of God because he is the ultimate judge. I can remember the instant in chapel when Pastor Wilson said, “Don’t bow down to the music. Don’t bow down to the music of this world.” When I reflect back on Immanuel High School, powerful chapels and wonderful encounters come to my mind. Now I understand why every year students return to visit, after graduating. We are excited for our graduation at the Mennonite Brethren Church in Reedley on May 29, 2014; the time of the event is to be announced. We invite you to come celebrate with us.