Excerpts from Valedictorians' Commencement
Speeches through the Years:
“…As a CAWNY graduate, I can assure you that this amazing school has changed my life. I stand before you today as a product of the good faith and encouragement of countless professional staff, faculty members and my peers who have become my CAWNY family. I have been amazed at the love I have received and the knowledge that I have gained that far transcend the classroom. The opportunities that I have been given at CAWNY are more than I could have ever imagined. I have not only been allowed the opportunity to see the world anew, but I’ve been shown how important it is to do my part in changing the world for the better. At CAWNY, I have created relationships and participated in dialog that will forever change and inspire my life.
“…Thank you to the teachers and staff, and to Christian Academy of Western New York for this amazing experience and education. To my amazing Class of 2015, ANY person can make a difference, ANY person can spark a positive change and ANY person can ignite a fire that can illuminate the world. All it takes is FAITH and COURAGE and most of all DREAMING BIG with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
"For only the purpose of an inspiration, please allow me to share [the] testimony of my life from my past. [In Ethiopia,] my biological family abandoned me when I was only a kid. I was left alone as my mother left home and run away with my other siblings in the absence of my father. Because of that I was unfortunate to have a family around. I never settled seeking for a peaceful and suitable environment trying to avoid tortures and furious treatments of my father whose psychology was not decent because of his lose of wife and wealth. Since then, I was always alone growing up. Since I was never been fortunate to grow up with my family, I always wondered around many places seeking for anyone to host and provide me with something that would permit me in life to sustain. My life was always full of evasive actions.
"By the age 10 years old I ended up being taken into an orphanage, which marked my final run away habit from my father. After seven years of life in an orphanage I clearly began seeing that my days and life held literally nothing meaningful aspects of existence. Even though I went to school, I wanted more out of life. I didn’t feel that I was living really meaningful life at all. So, I started pursuing to grow and be changed. I knew I had a great future plans but doubted if I would come to that point where I could be what I wanted to be. I wanted to shun the unsuccessful, darkest and bitter side of my life and attend school in America and be productive once in life. I sought for coming to USA for a better and affordable educational system. And now I am able here in the USA to be sponsored by a great family. I had no family that would be able to send me to school back then in Ethiopia, so that I could create bright future. But now, thankfully I have a family that assures me of my future and be on my side whenever I am in need of help and provisions and support. And I am greatly thankful to God for giving me such a blessing and tremendous family.
"It's indeed a great and pleasurable privilege for me to be able to stand here tonight as a valedictorian student. For that reason I would like to take a time to say also thank you for being given this opportunity. My gratitude goes to all our teachers, the principal, Mrs. L and administrator, Mrs. Poeller. Thank you again all the teachers, for the commitment and the sacrifice you make every moment to sustain the integrity of the school and to assist and help students to achieve great things and grow both educationally and spiritually.
"Christian Academy of Western New York has always been academically and spiritually a blessing school. All I can say is I am very thankful for the existence of this school in Buffalo. I believe also my fellow graduates have grown very much in all things, spiritually with God, and in terms of fellowship and relationship with one another and in gaining knowledge.
"Following, it’s my pleasure to mention each of our high school teachers one by one and appreciate them for their great and unforgettable teachings and examples they have always displayed in or out of the class.
"Teachers, we can never thank you enough for everything you have done for all of us. This moment is all the result of your hard working and sacrifice you have made and the investment have invested on us. You didn’t only teach us subjects and lessons but also good personality, attitude and moral conduct.
"Mr. Cesar, your bible teaching will surely always remain within me. For you have greatly influenced me in many aspects. In fact, you have influenced and challenged all of us.
"Mr. Evans, I have learned from you forgiving, calmness, tolerance, loving and respecting.
"Mr. Doores, you always believe in students that they can do anything if they are willing to do anything. Your patience and willingness to work with any student is very remarkable.
"Mrs. Plyler, your commitment, your hard working, and how you take your Job seriously has always been very significantly in our lives.
"Mrs. Elias, one of the things I have noticed about you is that, you are a friendly teacher. Your desire to help any student and the inclination and tendency you contain to answer any question has grown us.
"I am very humbled and honored to be titled as a valedictorian student of 2016 at CAWNY. And I give all the credit and the glory to God. Surely, if it would not have been for Him, I would not be here and be able to do nothing. So, above all things and above any one, I am genuinely humbled to glorify God, who is the foundation of my existence.
"I wish you all a great future!"
"...We're going to be entering into the real world, a place that is far more complex than it appears and where we will be expected to become adults. However, in a world that teaches you to fend for yourself, we won't be taking this leap alone... God will always be there to help guide us through this uncertain time between graduation and the pursuit of our goals. Jeremiah 29:11 says: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to you hope and a future.
"Throughout these next few months, it's important to remember: that God will be there to talk to when you need help and we are not entering into the real world alone. As we leave these four years behind, I encourage you to pursue God and ask what He has planned for your life, or if your plans align to His...."
"Today marks the beginning of the rest of our lives. Today will be one we won't soon forget. Many of use are excited for all God has in store for us. Many of us are nervous and anxious, but today we are brothers and sisters in Christ..."
"I'm grateful to CAWNY's teachers and staff who come in every day with a smile on their face and ensure we have the incredible opportunity to grow up in Christian education. A special thank you to Mrs. Morrow, Mrs. Elias and Mrs. Herman, who have especially helped me in my walk of faith. Mrs. Morrow, you have been an absolute sunshine of my life and I thank you for being a wonderful teacher and coach... Mrs. Herman, you have changed the way I look at Christianity and have helped me so much in every aspect. ...I appreciate the things you do as teachers every day. "
“In all the courses we’ve taken, one of the most important things we’ve learned is this: easier does not always mean better. We have devoted a large part of the last four years to studying and improving our academic skills through what once seemed like an unending mountain of work.
“I…really got to know many of the teachers here because they gave up their free time to host meetings and lend a hand or word of encouragement whenever we needed it most. They went above and beyond for us and it made all the difference.
“…when teachers noticed some talent in us, they worked to help us improve. They encouraged all of us to try and reach for high goals and grow in our faith. They all went out of their way to help us. Sincerely, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
“We go out into the world as these people right here: uniquely created and loved by God and equipped for what lies ahead.”
"...With the current time of worry and panic, it is a surprise that we can set aside any time to recognize the hard work done by those graduating, who have spent over 12 years working towards a diploma. This is the first step towards the rest of our lives. With the world at our fingertips, we do not question what we can accomplish, only what we will choose to accomplish. Everyone here can accomplish anything they set their mind to. With God at our back nothing will be impossible for the generation with all of the planet's information literally in their pocket.
"...We now look to our future and remember those who have helped us get here. Our teachers, families, and friends who have all helped us pursue our goals. And our coaches, who have helped us better ourselves. And this school, which has helped us prepare for our next step."
GRADUATES: The Guys
“I have attended CAWNY for twelve years now and through the good and the bad, I have learned so much. …I want to tell of some of the small parts of this school that truly make it great. The staff at CAWNY has always been so kind, and they go out of their way to make your day easier. I’ve been able to talk to them about anything whether it’s school-related or not. This may be my last days as a CAWNY student, but I will never lose or forget the values that I’ve learned while attending here.
“Lately, many people have been asking questions about my future, but one question that honestly isn’t easy to answer is ‘why am I ready to graduate high school?” I will truly miss this place when I’m finished, especially the people because a relationship is more important than any good grade. I am ready to graduate and move on because it’s time for me to go out into the real world. Though I’m still unsure of what I want to do with my life, I do know one thing, in whatever I do, I want to glorify my God…”
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“I’ve been going to the Christian Academy since I was in 4th grade. I have been taught a lot and have learned a lot of information in many different subjects. It has not only been an amazing and unforgettable experience, but I have grown very close to the Lord and have a true relationship with Christ. I have formed a lot of close relationships with many students and I’m sad to realize I will not see this great group of friends on a daily basis anymore…
“…my overall experience with the Christian Academy of Western New York has been an amazing and unforgettable one, and I encourage the people still attending CAWNY to stay strong and never take this school for granted and know that they are lucky to attend a school as great as this one. I want to thank all my teachers and administrators that have kept me in line and straight and helped me stay strong throughout all my years at CAWNY. For they were a huge influence on how I grew and what I have become today. I also hope that a lot more people will hear about this great school and experience their school life here. [For me,] it was an unforgettable and life-changing [experience].”
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“One of the most important things I learned about myself through CAWNY is how to be a good Christian and disciple of God. I was a Christian before I came to the school because of my family [life]…, but I never really thought about showing that trust in God outside my home. CAWNY helped me with that. Before, I thought I was one of the only kids in the entire world who believed in God, but then I see all these kids and young adults talking about God all the time. It was difficult at my old school to get anyone to even notice me, but here is a school where everyone was fair and everyone was friendly to me. Now, I can’t wait to see what [God] has in store for me in the future.”
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"It used to be very difficult for me as a 14 and 15-year-old to express myself outwardly or speak what I thought was right due to my fear of being judged. I have learned to stand up for myself and even others in given situations. Now, I possess a strong social, mental and creative spirit that I developed over my four years of high school and I serve and honor God with no worries. I believe that I am spiritually strong enough to leave Christian education behind and grow in it myself as the years go by. I will always keep my faith in Jesus Christ and grow my faith stronger with Him as I leave CAWNY."
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“…an activity that helped me grow was football. Pastor Herman pushed me to give my best when I felt I was at my worst and showed me how to keep succeeding. Another is soccer. Mr. Doores helped us realize the importance of teamwork because we only lost when we didn’t all work together.”
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“How has the school affected my spirituality? …the teachers have definitely helped me in my spiritual growth. What the school has truly done for me is let me learn to grow and advance myself as a person. Also, it’s taught me what truly matters. …my spirituality is at a high level than it would be if I had attended public school. …I have learned more about Bible and how it can help my life. Mr. Cesar helped my growth in the Bible, which led me to become a better person.”
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“…my favorite experience at CAWNY [was] the sort-of counselling session the Seniors had individually with Mr. Cesar. Having a one on one examination of our own experiences with a spiritual lens is truly marvelous, you can see God’s hand moving through each and every moment of everyone’s lives. I believe Mr. Cesar showed me that I’m ready to face the world beyond college, knowing that I might not get a Christian environment to learn in again. He showed me that life is always daunting no matter how old you are, and that it’s not about age. It’s about faith. Life’s challenges are inversely proportionate to our faith, such that the more faith we have the smaller the challenge becomes. While I’m still having my fair share of faith-based struggles, some very scary experiences have been made very easy on me with faith, for I know God is with me and protects me very step of the way. For this reason, I say that I must take the next steps after CAWNY in faith, for it is the only way to ensure that I can handle fulfilling God’s plans for me. …I’m willing to follow God’s commands and see where life takes me next, for He truly has the absolute best and most loving plan laid out for each and every one of us.”
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"CAWNY is such a small school, it wasn’t much of a step for me socially, but spiritually, it was a big step. Coming from public schools, CAWNY is a very Christ-centered school and took a little bit to get used to, but once you catch on, it is a good place to be. Being around Christian teachers really helped guide me the way I should go and keep me accountable. Being around teachers who also believe in what you do is helpful because if you have any questions, you know that you have someone to look to for advice. …It may be a small school, but you can get some things from this school that you could never get from a public school…”
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“Through CAWNY, I have learned the value of volunteering. A couple of hours of my time exponentially increases someone else’s well-being. Triple M is a hunger organization that taught us how soup kitchens are ran. We would take part in preparing the food, serving and cleaning. Plus, helping people is always fun. It’s the…opportunity to do stuff like Triple M [that] creates life changing experiences.
"…Mr. Evans is a perfect example of someone who is ok with [someone] making mistakes; and mercy. During the four years at CAWNY, Mr. Evans has shown Christian traits in class. …He constantly showed mercy in the class, giving a first-hand experience of what is Christ-like. …This teacher opens up everyday with prayer. He shows us mercy because he cares. I believe being in Mr. Evans’ class has made me a stronger Christian.
"…[Mr. Doores] influence on me was major. Mr. Doores willingly shares his story, no matter the audience. …His energy was unstoppable.”
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“Probably what I would consider the largest turning point in my life happened approximately a year and a half ago. It wasn’t anything major, but it was a sudden bolstering and increase in my life spiritually. Until that point, I hadn’t fully understood a few of the concepts presented to me through the Bible. While I believed that God existed, and that Jesus Christ died for our sins, the actual implications I did not understand until that point. It wasn’t anything major either, it wasn’t this huge revelation that revolutionized my life overnight. …It took about another year of pondering on those thoughts and concepts in order for me to truly grasp their meaning, and even then it was only thanks to Pastor Herman I was able to make heads or tails of it at that time.
“My growth as a person as a whole can be seen throughout my time at CAWNY. I came into the school with the attitude of someone who wanted to be bad, to be the worst of the worst… I was not a very nice person, to put it mildly, however as I spent more time at CAWNY, and I actually started listening to what Mr. Cesar, Mr. Evans and Mrs. Elias were saying, the more I came to the conclusion that what I was doing at that time was wrong. It took a longer amount of time than I would have liked, looking back on it, but it did happen.
“The most valuable experiences I had in High School, I can safely say, without a doubt, were Mr. Cesar’s Bible classes. While they did not immediately come to fruition, it planted a very fertile seed which was food for thought for a long time, but it finally came to bud, blossom and now is ripe fruit."
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"Though I have only attended CAWNY for two years, being here has impacted my relationship with God in a positive way. As I leave here, I am confident that I will only grow stronger in my faith and I will apply everything this school has taught me, spiritually, to my life.
"My experience here has helped me grow spiritually and academically. I am thankful to the teachers for leading me and teaching me. Attending a Christian school is one of my proudest decisions, because here, I know God is present and working on me. Looking back on my time here, I realize this was God’s plan for me.”
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“…I have grown academically. Earlier in my High School years, I had some academic struggles in Math and English. Through the help from teachers at CAWNY, I was able to pass all of my Math and English classes I needed to graduate. I was able to enhance my learning skills by creating new study habits. Now, I reach out to teachers if I need help in the subject instead of struggling on my own.
“Spiritually, I feel that I am ready to take on life after High School. CAWNY prepared me for real-life scenarios where my faith will be tested. Even though I am leaving Christian education behind, I feel as though I have been given the resources to spiritually succeed. I may not have been able to succeed spiritually after High School if I have attended another High School.”
GRADUATES: The Girls
“I was nervous at first about coming to CAWNY because most of my friends were attending a high school closer to my city. But over the past four years, I have made new friends and great memories. I think that I am prepared for college because CAWNY has given me tools that I need for life beyond high school. Being at this school has taught me how important it is to have God in my life and to help others in need.
“I think coming to Christian Academy of Western New York has made me stronger in my faith. Even though my former school was a [specific denominational] school, I didn’t think of myself as a true Christian. Incorporating God into everything that we do here has made my relationship stronger with the Lord. Everyday, Mrs. L tells us to go more God’s way than our own way. I think this statement will be good to apply to my life after high school since I’ll be going out into the world. It’s important to not be tempted by things of this world. I always know not to replace God with anything.
“As I say goodbye to Christian Academy, I feel that I am a better Christian having attended a Christian school. Doing Community Service and helping out at the soup kitchen has made me more sensitive towards the needs of others. I realize that I shouldn’t make everything about me.
“I feel grateful that I have received a Christian education. CAWNY has prepared me for my future. I will always be thankful toward the faculty for preparing us for life outside of high school. I’ll never forget all of the memories I made with friends and family.”
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“…Christian Academy of Western New York has taught me a lot about Christ Jesus our Savior… I know that true joy comes from the gift of God, not circumstances or environments. He gives me the strength to be faithful to Him in every aspect of my life.”
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“Because of the blessing of a Christian high school education, I have been shaped into a young woman with a firm foundation in the Truth. Throughout my high school years, I have had the blessing of many great teachers whose guidance and love for Christ have inspired me to maximize my full potential: academically, personally and spiritually.
“Because I was lucky enough to be placed in a Christian education at a young age, I have no doubt that I will remain spiritually sound after high school. I am unsure of how I will adjust to leaving a Christian-based educational system, but I will never lose sight of my relationship with Christ. I know His place for my life is far greater than any other.”
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“I came to the Christian Academy in seventh grade, and it wasn’t at all as I expected it to be. I came from a public school in Buffalo, so to go to a private Christian school was a drastic change. The teachers actually cared if you weren’t doing well in their class and worried if you didn’t show up to class. In public school, they couldn’t care less if you did or didn’t pass…”
"Throughout my whole high school experience [at CAWNY], I would say I have grown the most as a person in the last year. I have come to the realization that it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks, as long as I am pleasing to God. Knowing that I am important to God has helped me in every area of my life…”
"I do feel closer to [God] since I have been in a Christian school and around Christian people. I feel comfortable going into the real world that is not Christian-based, but I will miss it. I will still continue on my Christian walk, but it will be harder without the constant reminder that CAWNY gave to me, ‘to do the good and right thing,’ like Mrs. L always says.”
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“My most valuable experience in High School was during my last year. I completed my Community Service hours helping with Mrs. Engert’s 2nd and 3rd grade classes. I had a great experience! It was very rewarding to be able to help all of them and Mrs. Engert with whatever was needed…. [As I graduate,] I guess I’ll just have to see what God has in store for me. All I can do is hold on to the faith that has been instilled in me and jump!”
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“…To faculty, family, friends and honored guests, thank you for your presence and continued support at this very special ceremony. I would especially like to acknowledge the faculty. Their commitment to educating young minds in preparation for life beyond these halls should not go unmentioned. You are appreciated.
“…It is not lost on me how fortunate I am to have attended the Christian Academy of Western New York; a small, Christ-based school with [small] class sizes and a qualified staff, whose demeanor is spiced with a fundamental assurance of the goodness and mercy of a loving God. My social horizons have been expanded due to exposure to classmates from other nations. I have grown. Amazingly, I don’t know when it happened, this clarity, this epiphany. But, because of it, things are clearer now. I have a greater appreciation for the sacrifices in time and resources from my parents; the sharing of knowledge and insight into life and learning from teachers; and friendships and memories that will sustain me in times good and bad.
“With this appreciation comes an understanding that my association with CAWNY will not end tonight with the awarding of a diploma, a sincere hug, or a tearful goodbye. CAWNY has become a part of me, and I pledge to carry it forward in a manner that reflects favorably on all associated with it.
“…Always remember God’s first and second greatest commandments: To love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength. And to love your neighbor as yourself. So, be the mirror that reflects His light. May God bless you all!” (Salutatorian, Class of 2015)
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“The most valuable experience I had in high school was transferring from [a public school] to Christian Academy. Coming here has changed me not only academically, but spiritually. I’ve learned more about God within the last two years than I have in my whole life. From every morning pledges and prayer to Bible class. How my relationship with God has grown ever so more. I have Bible verses that will stay with me as I go (Philippians 4:9). [Another valuable experience:] …the Magdalen project in Niagara Falls, serving the less fortunate. Given the opportunity to go out to cook, talk and pray with the people was so amazing and memorable, opening my eyes to real life and thanking God. [Another valuable experience:] Reading Crazy Love. It taught me to be an obsessed Christian. That was an amazing book. [Another valuable experience:] All the different nationalities in the school. I even learned a little Chinese.
“Overall, high school has been an amazing experience. It flew by quickly. I’m ready now for the new chapter in my life. I hope to be back to visit.”
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“With everything that has happened in high school, my emotional and spiritual well-being was really put to the test. I’m not going to lie and say that throughout high school I was a strong Christian who never had a break down or turned their back on God. The truth is I did that so many times that I lost count, but the amazing thing was that God never turned His back on me. I could always feel Him pushing me and leading me back to Him, whether it be a church message or something I heard in Chapel, I was always reminded that no matter how far I went away from God, He would always want me back…
“During high school I had many experiences, but the most valuable one would have to be camp. It was fun being able to hang out with my friends…and doing activities as well as going to the Chapels to hear a message. At every Chapel, I learned something new and grew closer to God.”
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“The most valuable experience I had during these four years was getting to know the exchange students. Lacking the ability to travel to different countries and learn about their culture hands-on, having the opportunity to talk with them is something I won’t forget…
“As I leave this school, there are a few tips I have for the incoming freshman regarding how to get through the drama and homework of high school. First…go thank your parents for sending you here…”
“I’m very grateful for the time I spent at CAWNY, even though I complained a lot, and I am more blessed than I know.”
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“…Spiritually, I have grown a lot and have grown closer with God and being in a Christian school environment has really helped me along in that aspect. Growing, I have learned a lot about myself and accepting who I am so I could become more confident and I found who I was morally and spiritually as a child of God….
“The staff from CAWNY has taught me so much and they truly do care about their students and the student’s growth as people. Mrs. Farrington was my Bible and gym teacher. She helped me grow in my faith and become a strong, confident and determined young woman. Mr. Evans has always stood strong in his faith and showed me how to be a strong Christian, even though in a worldly environment, not to mention he just had an enthusiastic sense of humor. Mr. Doores always got me out of a bad mood with his crazy stories of his life as young man. He has such a passion for the Lord…Mrs. Morrow always held her cool, even when we were driving her crazy. She always had self-control, something that I also have tried to learn. She showed kindness and Christ-like character, which is something that I appreciated. I will always remember the memories I got from the amazing people in my Class and teachers who have helped guide me. All I can say is thank you CAWNY for giving me the experience of a lifetime. I hope I make you proud. Again, thanks for everything.”
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“…Although I have attended three different Christian schools throughout my school experience, Christian Academy has been the most meaningful and impacted me the most. When I walked into Christian Academy, I thought it would just be another school, but instead, it was a huge blessing that was placed into my life…
“…I think Mrs. Morrow is [a] person who taught me how much self-control really matters. [She] also taught me another very valuable lesson. She taught me the importance of giving. The way she shows God’s love towards others is amazing. Whether it was through showing forgiveness or mercy towards students, it was evident that she is definitely one of God’s helpers…
“One thing I love about going to a Christian school is that I can talk about God freely. That’s why I love my Bible teacher so much. She is an inspiration. She is the exact example of someone that trusts God through all situations. Mrs. Stock taught me God’s Word… She allowed us to question ideas and beliefs which allowed us to grow in our Christian faith…
“One of the big lessons I’ve learned is not to give up my faith no matter what. I’ve learned not to hide my faith regardless of whom I’m with or where I am. Going to a Christian school let me be completely open to my teachers and classmates. I know that going to a secular school will be a challenge and that others will not be accepting of me and my faith. CAWNY has allowed me to grow in my faith so I can meet the challenges ahead…
“I learned that I love helping others when I went to the soup kitchen and saw all the people that struggle on a daily basis. Being able to talk to them and hear their stories and how they got where they were was a huge eye opener. What really had me amazed was when I started to talk about God with them, they knew about Him. Some of them even told me how God has helped them. It was amazing to see how God not only works through the people who think they have their life all together, but even the people who struggle and are trying to live life…
“My advice to Freshmen coming into the High School is be yourself and don’t change for anyone. Trust that the teachers and your parents only want the best for you; take Mrs. L’s hugs and let her pray with you. Listen to her when she says she wants the best for you and believe her when she says how much she loves you. Listen to her every single Wednesday about God and His amazing love for us and His plan for our lives. Walk into school with open ears and an open heart. Be grateful and listen to the speakers on Wednesdays.”
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“My short few years I’ve spent at CAWNY have significantly impacted me as a person, as a Christian and as a student. It is because of CAWNY that I was led to the Lord and began changing to benefit my friend groups and learning life skills I’ll use for the rest of my life. It’s almost nostalgic and a little bit sad of how much [because] of how much I am leaving behind me here at the place I spent almost all of my high school career. I’ve been lucky enough to obtain a relationship with Christ and with many Christians who have helped me through my walk in faith while attending school here. At first, I was quite honestly skeptical of the private school notion, but I have admittedly grown very fond of the private school life and all it has to offer. I will graduate undoubtedly sentimental and satisfied with my high school experience.
“Nothing is better than His love, which I’ve come to realize during my high school experience. And the sooner I did so, the better things got and the more I was able to enjoy high school. Pursue Jesus, as soon as you possibly can and consistently.
“CAWNY has taught me about God and to strive for the goals I am aiming for, and for that I am thankful.”
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“From my personal experience at CAWNY, I feel as though I’ve grown in many ways. Before coming to CAWNY, I was homeschooled and though I participated in youth groups and activities, I didn’t exactly have the most interactions with other people my age, at least not in the same way you experience while going through school. Once I came to CAWNY, it didn’t take me long to find the people who soon became some of my closest friend. I kept up well with the curriculums and maintained a high level academically. I also enjoyed the Chapels and Bible classes that helped me to continue to grow and improve spiritually, but at CAWNY, I feel it was the discussions with Mrs. Morrow during her classes that made a bigger impact. I’m very thankful for the time she took with many students whenever we had questions or wanted to discuss something relating to our faith.
“I feel as though I’m in a good place spiritually and will do well in upcoming circumstances. I know I still have a lot to learn and that God has placed the people I will need in my life to help guide me along the way. I’ve been brought up with the direction I’ve needed to make decisions based on knowledge and my faith. I know I have good instincts and trust God to be there with me through it all…”
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“I don’t think I would’ve come to the realization that He is real and He loves me without being at CAWNY, because here we are constantly taught about God and that really has an impact on faith. Leaving CAWNY, with my faith as strong as it’s ever been, makes it easier to not be worried or anxious about my future or any upcoming events in my life.”
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“During the time I’ve spent here, I grew not only in knowledge, but spiritually and emotionally as well. I’ve learned a lot about myself all through my High School years. I thank God that I was able to spend my Senior year with some of my closest friends, as well as get all the help I acquired from not only those who I called my teachers, but those that have become well trusted mentors in my life. As I leave CAWNY, along with being taught in a Godly environment, I feel that I’m truly prepared to face the real world at a college where not everybody believes in what I believe in. Being in a Christian environment on a day to day basis helped me grow into who I am today, and I’m prepared to set off for college and pursue my career.
“One of my favorite things about CAWNY was the staff. Regardless of what situation you’re in, I absolutely loved that my teachers were always there for me. Mrs. Morrow was always willing to help and made me smile no matter what. She was always patient with everyone, no matter how the student behaved. I’ll never forget the time we spent talking and sharing stories. Mr. Doores never game up on us and believed that we could do anything if we put our mind to it. He always offered to help and found time to help us one on one if we needed it. Mr. Evans always pressed his love for God, even when teaching History… He never failed to make us smile with his uplifting and joyous personality. Mrs. Herman taught me deeper about God and gave me more insight on the Bible. She was always willing to talk to you about your personal problems and would do [her] best to help you through it. I’m exceedingly grateful to God that I was able to spend my remaining High School years at CAWNY…”
(please keep in mind as you read these that English is not their first language)
International Students from European countries
“My high school experience at Christian Academy of Western New York started on September 5, 2014, hosted by the school during my exchange year program in the United States. I did not expect to end up here. I had a completely different perspective from my study abroad program, but I had the best, unexpected experience from it. I have never spent time thinking about how high school experience affected me as a person, but now, at the end of my last year of high school, I constantly stop and think how this impacted me: CAWNY has had me as a student and now I have CAWNY in me.
“Waking up in the morning and getting ready to leave for school is less difficult when you know and you enjoy the place where are you going to. Attending CAWNY makes me feel in this way, as I am part of a big family.
“Attending CAWNY, I have [learned] that I will never stop learning from others; everyone has a different background and story. Getting closer with so many people from different nationalities and cultures opened my eyes to the world.
“Having to deal alone with real life problems during my study abroad experience in Western New York helped me to grow a lot; becoming an international student is beyond doubt the most dynamic experience that anyone can ever take, and I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to spend it in a school environment as CAWNY, lead here by God.
"Although faith is something that comes from the deepest of our heart and cannot be taught by anyone else but ourselves, attending a Christian academy gave me a strong Christian basis, more than the other twelve years of education did. During my senior year, I grew a lot inside of me, spiritually and emotionally, finding answers and comfort by the Word of God.
"The best moments I spent at CAWNY were during Chapel. I took a lot from it, that weekly hour spent every Wednesday morning with the rest of the high school with different speakers and different stories. God pulled different messages into my heart from which I take inspiration every day. Spirituality from different points of view touches everyone; that is a great thing that enriched me throughout my Senior Year. Going to school increased not only knowledge in school subjects, but also my way of seeing life from a Christian perspective. This gets me ready to be a valuable and spiritually rich member of the society and I am sure that being educated from a Christian school will help me to [make] wiser decisions and well thought out [choices] in life.
"The best experience that sums up my personal and spiritual growth during my Senior Year at CAWNY was the volunteer experience in Niagara Falls with Mrs. Plyler and my Senior English class. We were able to apply what we had read in the book, Homeless at Harvard, coming in contact with the homeless community. But the best part of it was the moment of sharing with the homeless people that I had the privilege to eat dinner with that night and talking to them. That was a perfect occasion when I could experience the transition between the life in school and the outside world; talking to someone who lived in brokenness and still had faith in God, fortifies me in facing real world problems.”
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“Throughout this year at CAWNY, I have grown not only academically, but also spiritually. I learned to speak a language that was completely foreign to me. Interacting with people from other countries and with different cultures taught me a lot… I tried things I never thought I would. I learned basics in a lot of languages and I made real friendships. I learned to be open-minded, resolved and determined. This year made me think about religion and what God means to me. These are questions I had never thought about. I wasn’t the Christian-like kind of thing. But attending to CAWNY made me be involved. Now that I know more about the topic I can say that I grew spiritually, that with God by my side anything is possible and that really encourages me.
“The most valuable experience that I had during my year at Christian Academy was during camp. The good thing about studying in a small school is that you get to know everyone in a deeper way. Camp brought us all together, we learned more about each other and about God and we did it in a really fun way. During the campfire, the speaker…really made sense to me and that was when I first started listening to the Word of God.
“Leaving Christian education behind means to fall into the unknown. Right now, I feel joy, but also I feel scared, mostly from not knowing what to expect and also knowing how critical college is. I will miss the daily Bible teaching, the everyday open prayer, the Biblical worldview throughout each subject, and the smaller environment, a big family. Leaving Christian high school behind doesn’t mean to stop believing in God, it just means making the effort of having a relationship with Him without having someone to tell you to do it.”
International Student from an African country
"I will always try to work on becoming a master of academic achievements, personal growth and Christ-like behavior. It has always been my desire to be an example to others and to show Christ-like mind and attitude.
"I strongly feel that my sprituality has amazingly developed since I started attending Christian Academy of Western New York. Going to Bible class and socializing and being surrounded by Christian students and people has greatly challenged me to grow more. I feel I am at a very new and different spiritual level that will continue to grow as I leave Christian school behind."
International Student from a Central American country
“As I leave the Christian Academy, I see that this is going to be the hardest part. Now going into a non-spiritual setting is going to be challenging. This will really test my faith. But, I feel like this will be God’s test for me and the Christian Academy has prepared me for that test.
“The Christian Academy has changed my life definitely for the better. This school has given my faith depth and will help me prepare for my walk with God. Although it was hard for me to leave home and all friends and family, I’m glad I did. I will now be able to look at my future with my mind clear knowing God and my newfound skills will help me through.”
International Students from Asian countries
"...God says, "So do not fear, I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10) God has a plan for each of you, so do not give up and take every step with God in trust. Then, God will take you places, where He planned. There is a wonderful world out there waiting for the children of God." (Salutatorian, 2017)
International Students from Communist countries
“There is…big difference in high school between [home country] and America. We must do twenty-five hours per year [of] Community Service. This year, I went to rescue mission to serve food, did some garden planning, helped church and write cards for Senior Center. I enjoyed doing this a lot. Wherever I go after high school, I will not give up each opportunity of doing community service to bring convenience to people. Instead of payment, I received people’s [respect] and grateful words.
“The most important thing here is I learned a lot about God. Host parents and school help me make a connection between me and God. I am an international student from [home country] and studying in America now. Christian is a word that I never touched before. I was shocked about everything I saw. It is hard to believe Christian can make such a big influence in people’s life. The meaning of Christian for me are rules that we are able to believe and obey. People believe God really exists. It can teach us not only how to forgive others, but also save life of us.
“I still remember the first English class is talking about faith. Faith is an important element of Christian. Faith means a guide to me in my life. It is light on my path. Because of faith, I have a goal in my life. And I find my way to success. Success for me doesn’t only mean happiness and desire. But also means another way to grow up. Faith is exit in a maze. When we feel break down, don’t give up on ourselves. Faith can take us away from dilemma. Faith is the best gift that God gives us. Faith cannot only improve people’s moral realm, but also can shape people’s moral personality. Thinking in different ways, faith gives us multiple methods to solve problems. People should have faith in their life. Faith gives us belief, creative and confidence. Don’t lose your faith anytime. Lost faith means lost life. From now [on], I need to learn more verses from Bible and feel how great is God.”
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"[Christian Academy of Western New York] is not a big school, but it is warm and cozy, like a real home. Even though there isn't a large number of students, they are from various countries: China, [South] Korea, Mexico, Italy, Germany.... Therefore, students in our school could share different culture backgrounds with others. At this small school, I learned more than what I could learn from a big school. I can sit down with my teachers, asking questions that I don't understand but very important to an international student with language barrier like me. I strongly believe that an individual education does make a difference and the way that Christian Academy has educated me made that difference. I learned from each teacher their passion in teaching and loving God.
"At this point, I can say that I understand growing up is not just going off to college or getting a job to support myself, Christian Academy has taught me that growing up is a process of growing academically, socially, spiritually and emotionally."
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"As I received Christian education...I felt like I have grown more as a person spiritually. I am so grateful to all teachers here who devote their time to us and take care of us for these school years.
"Treating other just like to myself and doing good and right things became my principle of life. I...listened to God's words to forgive and be kind. ...I will remember God's words to be mercy."
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[While discussing learning life lessons while at CAWNY:] “A train that stays on the tracks is free to go fast and to do what it is designed to do. When there are no tracks, trains can’t go anywhere. God’s rules for living are like tracks. If we follow them, we experience freedom and fulfillment and we live as God designed us to live. Put God first and follow His rules for living. ‘Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’"
“…My senior year was spent at CAWNY, which made me very joyful. I love this school. I love my classmates, teachers…host family. I love everything here!
“In academic achievement, some topics will be tough for me, but don’t be afraid of it. God is…everywhere. He will help and encourage you. Please trust God. Have a good mood every day and be a helpful, polite, kind person.
“My Junior year was in a Catholic school, but my Senior year was in a Christian school. I clearly feel the difference between the two religions, but the common is Lord is God. This…school taught me that no matter what difficulties are encountered, we must believe in God because He can give you help.”
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“…my most valuable experience I had in CAWNY was the field trip to the church in Niagara Falls. That was my first time to help poor people in my life. We gave out food for people who has a tough life or homeless people. I couldn’t be more happy when I saw them eating the food we made so that I even forgot I was tired after all the work I did in the kitchen. I wanted to help more people after I went on that field trip.
“Although I am not a Christian, I learned about Bible and Jesus in CAWNY. Before I came to America, I know nothing about Christianity, but not I can tell some story in the Bible and I know some Bible verses. I went to church and made some new friends and learned some life lessons from the service. It was a precious experience. I will miss the Christian education and good environment in CAWNY.”
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“I think the most valuable experience [at CAWNY] was when Mrs. Morrow took us on a field trip. Let us help the poor and the hard people to live. When I helped them, when I cooked for them, when I serve them as a volunteer, I saw their difficulties and I was deeply moved. I was shocked by their strong character and by their indomitable spirit. I know how to help others and how to respect others from that activity.
“I would like to thank CAWNY for my education, to help me grow and improve. Thank my teachers for [their] help and accompany me through the difficulties. I believe that I can succeed in my future studies and later in life after the CAWNY’s Christ[ian] education.”