The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

May 27, 2007

Heritage Champions Academy celebrates four graduates

Dr. Carol Parker, an associated professor at Sam Houston State University, was the featured speaker at Sunday’s commencement exercises for the four graduating seniors of Heritage Champions Academy.

The ceremony, held at the Family Faith Church, honored the first four to graduate after the school changed from a private to a charter school.

“It’s with bittersweet thoughts that we come to these moments,” said Lisa Branch, principal for the school. “It’s hard to see them all grown up and on their way in life.”

Parker urged the students to focus on four points for a successful life.

“Faith, family, friends and education,” she said to the students. “I call them the three F’s and an E. Through faith we grow, and family and friends are the best you count on.”

Parker also told the students that continuing their education was important.

“If you don’t think that education doesn’t make a difference, then I can tell you some stories,” she said.

Leanna Cook, the graduating class’ valedictorian, reflected on the memories of her years at Heritage.

“It’s almost impossible to believe these are our last days,” she said. “The memories, I’ll carry them into the future.”

Cook received a scholarship for one year paid tutition to a Texas university of her choice. Cook told the audience of family and friends that the first year of changing status for the school was difficult.

“This was our first year for TAKS,” she said. “We did a lot of brain-cramming.”

Parker gave each of the four graduates a present — her home phone number.

“I had many mentors that helped make me successful,” Parker said. “If you have any questions, give me a call. I gave you (my number) and I expect you to use it.”

Parker even gave the seniors an opportunity to ask questions during the ceremony.

“What is the best advice you can give us?” Cook asked.

“The best advice I can give you is that success is the best revenge,” Parker said.

Cook, Alex Fusaro, salutatorian Kandis Lippe and Corian McCullough were the four graduates. Heritage changed its name from Heritage Christian Academy in 2006, becoming a public-funded charter school free to all students, said Branch. 

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