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Hope Christian Academy will hold first ever senior graduation Sunday

Hope Christian Academy is celebrating a first on Sunday--its first graduating class. There will be three seniors walking across the stage to receive their diploma from the school, which opened in 1981 for grades 1-3 and started high school classe...

left: Madaleine Scammon , Bryce Timmerman and Courtney Bernhardt are the first graduating class of Hope Christian Academy. The school will be hosting a graduation at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the school's chapel. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)
left: Madaleine Scammon , Bryce Timmerman and Courtney Bernhardt are the first graduating class of Hope Christian Academy. The school will be hosting a graduation at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the school's chapel. (Press Photo by Kalsey Stults)

Hope Christian Academy is celebrating a first on Sunday-its first graduating class.

There will be three seniors walking across the stage to receive their diploma from the school, which opened in 1981 for grades 1-3 and started high school classes in 2012.

Bryce Timmerman has been enrolled in Hope Christian his entire school career.

"I haven't really thought about going anywhere else," he said. "I like this place. It's been home to me for a long time and I don't know what I'm going to do when I leave. It's just been a good home. It really is a family here."

Courtney Bernhardt and Madaleine Scammon started their education at Hope Christian two years ago as sophomores.

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Bernhardt decided to finish out her high school career at Hope Christian after going through the Richardton-Taylor school system.

"I was in the public school system my whole life," she said. "I finally decided that I needed a change and decided to come here, and I'm really happy with my decision."

Scammon moved to Dickinson from a suburb of Minneapolis and enrolled in the school because her stepmother is a teacher at Hope Christian. Her class size in Minnesota was about 400 students.

Hope Christian has around 120 students from preschool through 12th grade.

"It was a pretty drastic change when I came here," she said. "I just kind of needed something different. I kind of wanted a fresh start."

Although Bernhard and Scammon have only been at Hope Christian, along with Timmerman, for the past two years, Bernhard says they are more than just classmates.

"We've definitely grown closer together than just classmates," she said. "We've been through alot together and grown up together these past few years."

Scammon said she has made some of the best friends she has ever made at Hope Christian.

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"I will take that with me into the real world knowing that I have a good support system and I have a lot of people here who are cheering me on," she said.

Hope Christian has been going through construction since March 2013 for additional classrooms and restrooms, an expanded kitchen and administrative offices, and a gymnasium, library and computer lab.

Even though the seniors have had to navigate through the construction Bernhardt said this past year has been enjoyable with just enough classes to keep her busy but not enough to make her feel overwhelmed.

Timmerman has competed in track at Dickinson High School for the past four years but suffered an injury that cut his season short. Timmerman said the ability to take classes and compete in sports at the local public school was a great experience for him.

"I have this small school experience with us three classmates but I can also go to the public school where I have friends too and can get a larger surrounding," he said.

The private school which aims "to teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is preeminent in every aspect of life, including education" has succeeded according to Bernhardt.

"I've learned to show who I am respectfully but not be ashamed of it and I think that's important to have gained," she said. "I think God's hand is really in this school. You can feel it."

With the idea of graduation at the forefront of their minds, they have been able to reflect on their time at Hope Christian.

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"This school has shown me how to love people and how to be a good friend to people and how to form good relationships with people," Scammon said.

Bernhardt said she's learned to not be afraid to show her religion.

"I've learned to show who I am respectfully but not be ashamed of it," she said. "I think that's important to have gained."

Timmerman feels the same way.

"You can love the Lord and do the right thing, while having fun doing it," he said. "I mean Hope has just given me a whole new perspective on the world in general."

Timmerman plans to attend the Association of Free Lutheran Bible School in Plymouth, Minn.

From there he plans on transferring to North Dakota State University to study communication or journalism.

Bernhardt plans to attend Dickinson State University this fall to complete her general education courses and then transfer to a larger university to complete coursework in forensic criminology.

Scammon plans to attend DSU to pursue a degree in elementary education.

Breakout Box:

Hope Christian Academy Graduation

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Hope Christian Academy Chapel

Related Topics: DICKINSON
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