Commencement, the climax of Laurelbrook’s 2018 Graduation Weekend, began with a piano prelude by Samantha (2018 sophomore).  The seniors marched in to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance”.

Richie Perez, the incoming boys’ dean and campus chaplain, had the invocation.  Rich Sutton, Laurelbrook’s president and academy principal, welcomed everyone.  The 2018 seniors then gave their graduation speeches (some notes are given below).

  • Jullyan Dyaine Falkenhagen (four-year senior) – liked outreach, mission trips, spiritual retreats where I learned to be all out for Christ / leave our problems to God
  • Blake John Anthony Whited – here 2.5 years / from Mississippi / God changed me on this mountain / I became leaner as I worked outside and learned what types of work I didn’t like / Publications class built timing and patience
  • Citlali Io’ita Huerta Mazariegos – here three years / mission is a college from the Lord / you can be a missionary wherever you are / God supplied what was needed to go on mission trips
  • Marian Josia Tonhauser – here this year from Germany / came to learn a foreign language / flight program was a dream and learning to be a missionary pilot became a possible reality at Laurelbrook
  • Sarah Elizabeth Carpenter – came from Vermont for two years / How do we take God’s opportunities? / learning to appreciate older people / getting to know people from other countries who come to Laurelbrook as students / on a mission trip to Cuba, connected with a little boy who just needed love

The academy principal’s address was given by Rich Sutton.  Following are some notes from that address:

1.            You seniors are the fuse to light the world.

2.            Don’t forget why you came to Laurelbrook.

3.            Thomas Jefferson once remarked that if you want something you’ve never had, just try it.

4.            Have confidence in what God can do!

Rich Sutton then presented Sarah Carpenter with two scholarships from Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas – one for $4000 and one for $24,000 (based on her achievements).


Juanita Smith, academy vice-principal for academics and registrar, read off the names of the five graduates, and Rich Sutton as principal presented them with their diplomas. Pedro Arce, the academy music department head, and his daughter Samantha (2018 sophomore) then sang “God Knows the Way” for special music, accompanied by academy teacher Jeremy Westcott on the piano. Richie Perez had the benediction. The seniors and then the congregation filed out to the sounds of a recessional.

Related Information

Becky Owens Speaks for the 2018 ConsecrationFive Seniors GraduateMusic Department Gives Final Concert of the YearRichie Perez Speaks About Being Ready for Christ's ComingSeniors Talk About the Senior Trip, New Chaplain Introduced