Celebrating unique bonds: Sandy Creek Christian Academy graduates six


Brothers separated in age by two years graduated from high school on the same day.

Jackson Huff, 17, and Emerson Huff, 15, walked into the sanctuary at The Tabernacle in downtown Seymour on Saturday and sat next to each other for the Sandy Creek Christian Academy graduation ceremony.

They and the other four seniors joined the school’s choir for a song and listened to three people speak before going up to receive their diplomas, turn their tassels and toss their caps into the air.

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Emerson is the youngest person to graduate from the school, which started as Seymour Christian Academy nearly 35 years ago, became accredited in the 2013-14 school year and changed names two years ago.

The brothers were homeschooled until starting at the school as juniors.

“He started (school) a year early, so I started whenever he did,” Emerson said. “Jackson and I, we’ve come a long way together. We’ve just been on a journey together.”

Emerson said it was fun to finish and graduate together.

“I love being in the same boat with him, being able to share a lot of thoughts and feelings about everything, being able to help each other with homework and assignments that we do,” he said. “I feel really proud mostly of Jackson because he has worked really hard, and I’m proud of myself, too, but I just get to see him and how much he has done and how hard he has worked, as well.”

Jackson was salutatorian of the Class of 2019.

“It means everything,” he said of the accomplishment. “I just thank God for it. I didn’t expect to get that. It’s getting worse and worse in our society, so I just wanted to get ahead academically, and I did achieve that.”

He also was happy to have his brother by his side Saturday.

“It’s huge,” Jackson said. “I love my brother. He’s my best friend, my companion. It’s such an honor to graduate with him.”

The class also has another unique feature: Kirsten Linn Turner and Jalyn Boyd were co-valedictorians.

Both said academics have always been important to them.

“I just like to learn,” Turner said. “There are so many people in our world that are uneducated, and I want to be better, make the world a better place.”

Turner, who started at the school in sixth grade, said the teachers and the school’s godly environment helped her become a valedictorian.

“They are not just there to make sure we pass the class so they don’t have us next year. They are there to make sure we actually succeed,” she said of the teachers. “They really do care about us, and I credit that to God because if they didn’t have the love for God, they wouldn’t have the love for us like they do.”

Boyd also joined the school in sixth grade.

“My mom would always tell me, ‘You need to have good grades,’ and they would reward me for good grades, so it has just been something that’s important in my life,” she said.

In terms of being a valedictorian, Boyd smiled and said, “It’s either luck or God.”

“Definitely my classmates have helped me a lot because if I didn’t know what a homework assignment was, they would help me remember when homework was due,” she said.

Turner said she nearly cried when she found out she was a valedictorian.

“I wanted to be valedictorian because I wanted to be the best I could possibly be because the Bible does say, ‘With everything your hand finds to do, do it as unto the Lord,’” she said. “God gave me the brains to be valedictorian, so I wanted to do my best to get there.”

Both girls gave speeches during graduation.

Turner’s message was to go out and change the world, don’t fade into the abyss of humanity like everyone else, be something that people talk about and be different.

Boyd closed with a quote from Winston Churchill about never giving into the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy, which could include doubt, fear and depression.

“Just anything that would be against your dreams or what you can accomplish,” she said.

The other two graduates have one thing in common: Kylie Welch and Kevin Alvarado started at the school in seventh grade.

“It’s great,” Welch said. “I love the tight-knit. We’re a very close class. We all know each other personally, so I like how close we are, and I like the small environment.”

Alvarado liked being a part of the class, too.

“I like how we’re all a family,” he said. “I feel more confident because they got me through all of the past years.”

Graduation meant a lot to both of them, and they are ready to enter the real world.

“It’s something I’ve been waiting for,” Alvarado said.

“I chose my senior quote the other day: ‘I spend so many hours just to get a piece of paper and a handshake,’” Welch said of receiving her diploma. “I feel like we’ve talked about this for years, and now that it’s here, it’s like, ‘OK, what now?’ We’re all ready to be done.”

Turner plans to earn licenses for American Sign Language and the national deaf community to become an interpreter, Boyd is headed to Ivy Tech Community College to study nursing, Welch will go to Ball State University to become a history teacher and Alvarado is enrolling in a program at Cummins Seymour Engine Plant to work and earn a college degree.

The Huff brothers are going to MorningStar University in South Carolina to major in Christian leadership. Jackson also is minoring in writing and wants to become a pastor, pastoral counselor and writer, while Emerson is minoring in media communications and wants to be a film and cinematography director.

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