Emmanuel grads keep a sunny outlook

When the Emmanuel Christian School class of 2002 walked into the Emmanuel Baptist Church sanctuary to receive their diplomas Friday evening they were easy to spot: They all sported nice tans.

The senior class traveled to the Central American country of Belize last month for their senior trip: one last time together. They took in the sun, snorkeled with sharks, went tubing in caves and were followed around by a dog they nicknamed Cujo.

Well, and then there was the senior prank Thursday night.

Seniors filled the principal’s office with newspaper and went wild with toilet paper elsewhere, said graduates Tia Johnson and Jesse Edenhart, both of Manassas, and Sarah Reynolds of Centreville.

On Friday, as they filed into the church sanctuary in blue and white gowns, it was time to make a few more memories and then say goodbye.

“I’m excited. I’m sad, too,” said graduate Dana Mullins of Woodbridge, one of the 33 graduates in the school’s class of 2002, the largest class ever for the religious school of 300 north of Manassas on Va. 28.

Graduates were also looking toward the future.

Reynolds and Johnson said they are going to Liberty University. Edenhart said he will study at Northern Virginia Community College.

Nick Long of Manassas said he is glad it’s over. He will attend Danville Community College in the fall.

The Rev. Marty Benton of the Atlanta-based INJOY ministries gave the commencement speech, and graduates were introduced individually to the audience in a slide show.

Student body president Jonathan Stone of Manassas presented the senior class gift of additional bleachers for the soccer fields. He will play volleyball and study pre-med at Liberty.

“It’s bittersweet memories. Mixed emotions, definitely,” he said.

Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.

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