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22 graduate from Cornerstone Christian

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA — Twenty-two students graduated from Cornerstone Christian School on Friday night, May 28 as each prepared for a new chapter in life.

Delivering the commencement address was pastor, teacher and retired military servicemember Robert Franks, who challenged the students to take “the road less traveled” so that they might experience a greater reward.

“Don’t just keep going straight. Make a turn, make a new way, take that path less traveled because you’re talking about your whole future,” Franks told the graduates. “Forge new territory, take a path that is not traveled very often, and that is a path of being a leader and being the best that you can be.”

Franks proceeded to share a story of two hikers who set out on a trail with no particular destination in mind and eventually ran into a dead end. Later on, he said, the hikers learned of a different route that would have taken them to a spectacular view at the summit of the mountain.

“That’s why you need to make a choice in life that is well thought out and planned, or it will lead to nowhere,” Franks added. “Don’t settle for just somewhere on the mountainside. Choose the path that will lead straight up to the top to the summit where the views are beyond your wildest imagination, where your success is greater than you ever dreamed of. It will be hard at times, but oh the reward at the end.”

He ended his speech with a scripture verse, Micah 6:8, which outlined three things—do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.

“Let Him lead and you follow,” Franks said, explaining the meaning of the third point of the verse.

Following Franks’ address, a salute was made to parents of the graduates. Then, in a special ceremony and perhaps one of the most touching moments of the evening, each graduate present gave a rose to their mother.

Salutatorian Nicole Saad talked about seizing the moment and making it count, and the challenges of doing so on a day-to-day basis.

“I think we can all agree that not every moment is so easy to make count. I know for certain that there are days that I just can’t wait to get over with and start the next big thing,” she said. “We can wonder if we appreciate the moment and the people in our lives enough, but nothing can change if that part of our lives is now history. If we don’t appreciate what’s right front of us, we are about to miss that too.”

Saad challenged her classmates to remember the moment and be proud.

In her speech, class Valedictorian Alyssa Lightsey thanked all those who had influenced her throughout high school.

“All of us have emphasized how ready we are to graduate and move on to bigger and better things, but the truth is I know we’re going to miss this school and people here that we’re leaving behind,” Lightsey said. “…However, it is time for us to close this chapter of our lives and begin the next one.”

She then shared an inspirational quote from one of her coaches: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will, so don’t be afraid to chase your dreams and live your life to the fullest.”

Photos available at

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