Eighteen students graduated from Alaska Christian College on Sunday, but there was no "Pomp and Circumstance" at the ceremony, literally or figuratively.
The traditional graduation song was replaced with Christian worship songs, and while the graduates were celebrating the completion of their studies, they were more interested in praising God than themselves.
"God is working so hard (in me)," graduating student Chelsea Parr said during her testimony at the ceremony. "I give him all the glory. I thank all the parents and my classmates. I know it's been hard, but I'm glad we're together."
Alaska Christian College, in Soldotna next to Kenai Peninsula College, is a Bible college affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church of America. The school targets primarily Native students and prepares them for a life of discipleship and mission work through a one-year Bible-based curriculum. Sunday marked the school's second commencement exercises.
Seventeen of the graduates were celebrating their completion of the one-year program, graduating with certificates of biblical studies. Another student became the first graduate of ACC's "Encore" program, in which students continue their education with general studies courses at Kenai Peninsula College.
The students, who hailed from rural Alaska villages, Canada and the Lower 48, spent the last eight months studying the Bible, building relationships with one another and serving their faith through mission trips.
Now that they have completed the program, several of the students plan to return to their homes for the summer, then either take up mission work or return to the Kenai Peninsula for further study.
"These students are making a statement," said Keith Hamilton, director of the college. "They're saying, I want to be a disciple of Christ.'"
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