Grade 12 students from Sylvan Lake and the surrounding area participated in a rite of passage that has existed locally, for more than two decades.
Bibles For Grads took place at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre, on April 12, featuring dinner, entertainment and the tradition of giving each Grade 12 student a bible as a valedictory gift, honouring the coming changes in their lives.
Sharon Nielsen, chair of Bibles for Grads, said that those who organize Bibles For Grads believe that it’s important, as Christians, to provide support for students starting a new phase in their lives, “whether it’s work, further education, a new sopouse or living somewhere new, it’s important to know that God and the community support them.”
That message, she noted, is one that is succinctly entailed in the gift of a bible to each student.
“It helps them to be able to have a source to go to, to help with the many big decisions they will have in their lives,” she added.
Bibles for Grads had a serious message at its core, but the event was a great deal of fun for students, featuring dinner, and the high-flying, agile performance of the Burman University Acronaires.
The troupe of acrobats performed a series of daring stunts that evoked the awe and applause of everyone at the event. Stunts and routines involved plenty of leaping into air with cartwheels, flips and many variations thereof — as well as a great deal of climbing and posing, which pushed their agility and dexterity to the limit.
Mayor Sean McIntyre also spoke to the students, saying he was happy to be sending them out to take their final exams and graduate with the support of the community behind them.
McIntyre said he recalled being a student of H.J. Cody School, stressing over exams and preparing for his future, adding, “congratulations; you’re almost through, and we wish you all the best.”
Several of the Acronaires, between the intervals of their superb athleticism, shared stories about the difficulties in their lives, and the assurance and happiness they felt from the community and from God, symbolized in the gifting of Bibles.
“We want to give them a taste of Christianity, and want them to know God is there for them, loves them and that there is a whole community behind them,” said Nielsen. “We want to bless them.”
Nielsen acknowledged the effort of many volunteers and the coordinated interdenominational work between all the churches in Sylvan Lake, in making Bibles for Grads a reality, adding, “it’s good to be a part of this, with all the churches working together.”