Tobias “Tobi” Knierim traveled a great distance to attend Clovis Christian School.
Knierim, 18, moved to Clovis in August from his hometown of Langenburg, Germany, a small town of about 2,000 people in the southern part of the country.
“I just wanted to be in a Christian school,” Knierim said. “I had never been to one before. (I’ve been) a Christian since I was 5 years old.”
Knierim was one of a dozen students in the Class of 2003 at Clovis Christian who received their diplomas during Friday’s ceremony in the sanctuary.
“It was worth it for the experience and everything,” said Knierim, who still has two more years before he will graduate from his German high school and go on to a university. “What I liked about Clovis Christian School was the commitment of the teachers and students to Christ. You could talk about God more in school. And I liked that every morning we had devotions and songs.”
For fellow senior Nathan Hollis, transferring to the school in the middle of his junior year proved to be a good decision.
“You get to act like a Christian without being persecuted,” said Hollis, who plans to go to Oklahoma Baptist University, but added jokingly that he also aspires to be a pretzel vendor.
As Hollis played guitar and sang “All I Really Want,” he asked the other graduates to take to heart the message of the song, which states, “God, I praise thee; you amaze me. Take my life and let your light shine through.”
Hollis introduced the featured speaker, Coach Max Kralicek, by saying the students tried to decide between him, Lance Armstrong, George W. Bush and Ronald McDonald.
The man the class affectionately calls “Coach K” quoted from Psalm 139: 7-10 and several poets, as he encouraged the class to remember that God is with them wherever they go.
“You have a heritage of Christian education, God’s high standards and a God you can trust for your future,” Kralicek said. “God planned for you to live life and live it more abundantly if you live by His plan. Whatever you choose to do in the future, it will be a success if you take God with you.”
Class valedictorian Lacie Young, who has attended Clovis Christian since sixth grade, told her fellow graduates that she believes, “God had a purpose for bringing us together … to obtain an education, but more importantly, we have grown spiritually.”
“We were created to be used by him,” Young said. “All he wants is a willing heart ready to do anything he asks. We can go out and make a difference.”
Brandon Hunter is one of four Clovis Christian graduates heading to Portales to attend Eastern New Mexico University.
“I want to study medicine and play football and basketball,” Hunter said. “I’ve enjoyed Clovis Christian because of the closer relationships you can have with the teachers and students. It’s a lot more personal.”
Even the graduation ceremony was personalized for the small class, which included a video/music montage showing each of the 12 seniors at various stages of their lives, from baby photos to their last year of high school.