4 graduate from Orleans County Christian School

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 June 2024 at 8:48 am

Students also earned certifications from BOCES

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – Bryce Mathes gives the valedictory address on Tuesday evening during commencement at the Orleans County Christian School.

Mathes is one of four graduates at the school, which is based at Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship on Route 63.

Mathes attended the school the past four years. He said he preferred the smaller class sizes over his experience at Albion.

Mathes earned a certification in computer technology at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES and he plans to enter the Air Force to be a cyber security technician.

He also was able to take many classes through Genesee Community College. He thanked his parents and the school for supporting his love of technology and for preparing him to take the next steps in his career.

The graduates toss their caps at the end of the commencement program. From left include Andrew Schmidli of Medina, Joshua Watts Jr. of Medina, Collin Peters of Medina, and Bryce Mathes of Albion.

About 75 people attended the commencement and award ceremony at Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship.

The K-12 school started in 1996 and is accepting applications for enrollment until Aug. 1. This year there were 16 students.

Leaders of the school and church pray over the four grads. In back from left are Curt Strickland, Pastor Russ Peters of Alabama Full Gospel, school administrator and principal Jodi Peters, and Michael Zaidel. The grads are, from left: Bryce Mathes, Collin Peters, Josh Watts and Andrew Schmidli.

The graduates earned equivalency diplomas that are approved by Medina Central School superintendent Mark Kruzynski.

The four all completed programs  at BOCES. Mathes earned a certification in computer technology. Peters earned a welding certification and will start work with Graham Manufacturing in Batavia. Watts has certification in autobody and restoration, and Schmidli completed the advanced manufacturing and engineering program.

Josh Watts is called up to accept his diploma from Jodi Peters, the school’s administrator and principal. She also teaches ELA, Bible, history and economics.

Watts joined the school in the seventh grade and he said it made a big difference for him.

“They are very accommodating and very patient,” he said.

Andrew Schmidli poses for a photo with his diploma and the Principal Jodi Peters during the ceremony. Schmidli spent four years at OCCS.

“I got the help that I needed,” he said.

Collin Peters, another graduate, has been in the school since the third grade. His mother is the principal.

“The teachers are pretty nice and helpful,” Collin said. “The students are pretty cool.”

Jodi Peters said she assured her son she wouldn’t get too emotional when presenting him with his diploma.

“He made it very clear he doesn’t want me to become unglued,” she said during the ceremony.

Collin was presented with the Triple C award from the Attorney General’s Office, an honor for a student that exemplifies character, courage, and commitment to bettering oneself and the community.

Peters, Mathes and Schmidli all were awarded $1,000 scholarships during commencement from the Medina Area Association of Churches. Mathes also was awarded a $1,500 scholarship for academic excellence.

Russ Peters, pastor of Alabama Full Gospel, served as the commencement keynote speaker.

He praised the grads for gaining skills and maturity during their time in the school. He acknowledged they are likely feeling some anxiousness over the next steps in their livers. He urged them to turn to God and keep the Lord at the center of their lives.

Peters said the grads are free to explore, learn and take risks. They will make mistakes and struggle.

“But in the struggle you will learn to be strong,” he said. “In the struggle you will learn to overcome.”

G’Ahmeer Barnes, a ninth-grader, holds the flag for the pledge of allegiance during the ceremony.

Students in grades 1 through 11 at the Orleans County Christian School sang “Friends Are Friends Forever” by Michael W. Smith.