Class of 2024: New Beginnings

June 3, 2024 / Christine Coddington
Commencement 2024 advance set-14

Thursday’s commencement concert featured the EMHS Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and Jazz Band with senior vocalist, followed by Middle School Chorale, Chamber, and Touring Choirs. The 100+ mass choir joined together to sing “And the Glory” from Handel’s Messiah to close. It was a beautiful way to come together and begin the celebration of the senior class.

How can we keep from singing? With 41 graduates on Saturday, June 1, Eastern Mennonite School held its 106th commencement ceremony. This day marks a significant milestone in the lives of our students. The weeks leading up to graduation are filled with senior presentations, a vital component of a capstone course called Kingdom Living, where seniors explore the practical aspects of living out kingdom work. EMS literally gives students a microphone and asks them to share their stories—reflecting on their upbringing, their experiences at EMS, and their aspirations for the future. These presentations provide a unique platform for students to express their journeys and dreams, offering a rich tapestry of life stories centered around faith, education, and relationships. 

Commencement speaker Jon Carlson and EMHS teacher Nathan Hershberger blessed the senior class with words of encouragement during this time of transition. The Wednesday before commencement, Nathan Hershberger, Bible, World History, Model UN teacher, was asked by seniors to share during chapel. He shared about being the blessing to show God’s grace — being the person that helps others to endure. Jon Carlson proclaimed at commencement, “Today is not a big ending but a big beginning.” Commencement, which means a beginning, begins a promise of new possibilities. New beginnings are the base of the Christian faith. He asked the seniors, “What could be your moment of new creation?” He challenged them to choose God’s love for others. Hersberger also shared, “ God is carrying us into the future: that is the story to which you belong.” Both Carlson and Hershberger encouraged the class of 2024  to look at their new beginning with God’s strength and walk together in faith.

As seniors begin the next chapter of their lives, we are filled with pride and anticipation for the bright futures ahead. May God bless the class of 2024. Principal Mr. King always challenges students with the phrase, “I am somebody.” Be the person who steps forward when the thought arises, “somebody should help.”  As excitement and tears filled the graduation class, faculty and staff sang the benediction hymn May The Lord Bless You And Keep You:  


The Lord bless you and keep you, the lord lift his countenance upon you, 

and give you peace, the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious, 

the Lord be gracious upon you.  Amen.


EMS 2024 Graduate Blessing
by Bible Teacher Karen Suderman

Here you are seen; now go out and see with wonder and curiosity so that you may observe God’s movement in the world. 

Here you are known; now go out to know, to learn, experience, and grow so that you may more deeply understand your part in God’s unfolding story. 

Here you are loved; now go out in love so that you may offer your gifts, knowledge, and wisdom to the world around you. 

Now you are sent with the peace of Christ before you, behind you, and under your feet.


An article from the Daily News Record about the commencement ceremony.


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