By Jane A. Marlowe
Winterberry Christian Academy celebrated Commencement exercises Tuesday, June 7 in the Sanctuary of the Baptist Family Church. Dawn Sheldon, principal, welcomed guests, students and families and introduced Pastor Aaron Lundquist who offered an opening prayer.
Students Sydney Lundquist, Katherine Felipe and Kiera Ludwigsen thanked their teachers, staff and families for giving them the opportunity to learn and grow in the exciting environment of the Academy. They concluded their remarks with a fast paced, entertaining slide program of life at Winterberry.
Heather Hassell and Henry Hill complimented the students for their enthusiasm and interest in learning and their families for their unceasing support. Mrs. Sheldon described the many field trips the students were able to enjoy throughout their years at WCA including a visit to the 9-11 Memorial, Praise FM Radio and their participation in Operation Christian Child and the Bedtime Bundles Project.
Christian Rapper, Christaholic, presented a lively musical performance. Lord, Take Me To Your Paradise included lyrics taken from Scripture, “In My Father’s House there are many mansions,” sung by Jamie Lynne, accompanied by Christaholic.
The Academy honored members of the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island with an award for the generous sharing of their time and talent to instruct Academy students in the most sacred celebrations of the Jewish faith. The award was accepted by Rabbi Edward Maline and members of the board of JCMI.
Awards were presented to guest speakers, many school contributors from the community, the Pastors of Baptist Family Church and Marco newspapers, The Eagle, Marco Island Sun Times and our own Coastal Breeze News.
Officer Al Schettino was honored as the Community Police Officer for the Academy. He taught students the DAREprogram, Drug Abuse Resistance Education and often stopped by the school to visit with students and offer his assistance with their many community activities.
Dottie Weiner, Aquatic Specialist of the YMCA, received an honor on behalf of the support offered to WCA by all Y personnel.
Senior Pastor, Timothy Neptune, recognized the graduating senior, Patrick Schinella II, who will be pursuing higher education. Peter’s remarks included a significant reminder for students who will be going on to different high schools. “Decision, not intention, determines your direction.”
Winterberry Christian Academy is closing at the end of this school year. Principal, Dawn Sheldon, expressed confidence “in God’s plan” for the students and staff.She is confident that her students will make good choices and use the skills they have learned at WCA to contribute to their new schools.
Eighth grader, Nina Fyodorov and her mother, Galina, expressed their disappointment that the school is closing. “It is such a nice environment, a family experience. Many of the congregation contributed their time in the classrooms, in any way they could.”
The following students received Certificates of Achievement and were honored for exemplifying exceptional qualities and characteristics during their years at WCA.
Joey Lane, Levi Shepherd, Heather Francis, Ezequiel Loredo, Katherine Felipe, Alex Schettino, Madeline Paoleti, Kiera Ludwigsen, Edwin Kendred, Raeann Brok, Vance Johnson, Sydney Lundquist, Jeffrey Francis, Marcus Seidman and Nina Fydorov.