EDMOND—Imperial Academy graduated nine seniors at its seventh commencement exercises in the John Amos Field House on May 19. The graduates include one Edmond student and eight online students from six different states. Imperial’s sister school in Pampanga, Philippines, graduated two seniors.
The nine seniors, dressed in gray and dark blue, walked down the aisle as “Largo” from Xerxes by G.F. Handel played and an audience of several hundred stood.
Edmond senior Jessica Brandon gave the student address, saying that the Imperial education is future-focused. She recalled a class when her teacher left a note on each student’s desk that read: “Why are you here?” The teacher later explained that they were there to learn to teach others.
The Imperial Academy Irish dancers took the stage and performed three dances that were choreographed by students. The academy’s Irish dance program has taken students to competitions all over the United States as well as to England and Ireland.
Brandon sang “L’amero saro costante” by W.A. Mozart, backed by violinist and Imperial student Zoe Hilliker and pianist and pcg music director Ryan Malone on the piano.
Principal Wayne Turgeon and assistant principal Brandon Nice presented awards for a Geography bee, music achievement, citizenship, academic excellence, Physical Education work ethic and sportsmanship. Mr. Turgeon also recognized students who were on the honor roll or who had a 4.0 grade point average.
Attendees saw a retrospective slideshow including a voiceover from Mr. Turgeon’s orientation lecture about the school’s theme for 2014-2015: “Glory and Honor,” as well as photos of the seniors from childhood to senior year.
Mr. Turgeon’s commencement address reviewed the academy’s themes from the previous four school years: “Do Well, Excel”; “Endure Hardness”; “The Sky Is Not the Limit”; and, “Glory and Honor.” He also paraphrased the inscription from Armstrong Auditorium: “The Imperial Academy senior class, made possible by gifts of the Philadelphia Church of God, dedicated to the honor and the glory of the great God.”
Mr. Turgeon announced each senior with academic distinctions as he and Nice conferred diplomas on the nine graduates. This year’s class brings the total number of Imperial graduates since 2008 to 48.
After the recessional set to “La Rejouissance” from Music From the Royal Fireworks by G.F. Handel, graduates, families, faculty and guests conversed in the gymnasium and dining hall over snacks and viewed displays of students’ academic work, including drawings, science projects, historic events, publication layouts and dioramas.
Senior Brianna Weeks said Imperial provides a different kind of social life compared to most other schools.
“They’re all your friends, and there’s no pressure to impress anybody or to hang out with the ‘cool kids’ because we’re all just equals,” she said.
Senior Aebra Hayes said every single class at Imperial has a “biblical focus” and that she feels that it is “like a family.”
Imperial Academy began in 2008 on the Philadelphia Church of God headquarters campus. Students in the online school, which became available in 2009, make up 43 of the 97 full-time students. The Philippines sister school opened in 2013 with 32 students enrolled this year.
Edmond Senior Class 2014-2015
- Jessica Brandon (with highest distinction)
- Grant Clayton
- Alina Flory
- Evan Fraser
- Aebra Hayes
- Brianna Smythe
- Kassandra Verbout (with high distinction)
- David Warner
- Brianna Weeks (with highest distinction)
Philippines Senior Class 2014-2015
- Josiah Rodis
- Nikoli Guillar