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Christian School sends off final class from old Medina High School

Photos by Tom Rivers: Hayley Farewell gets a hug from teacher David Stacey during a graduation and achievement night on Thursday for the Orleans County Christian School. Farewell thanked Stacey for the many he helped her get through her algebra class.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 June 2018 at 8:10 pm

Orleans County Christian School will move this fall to Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship

Hayley Farewell, left, and Abbygal Fuller graduated from the Orleans County Christian School.

MEDINA – The Orleans County Christian School celebrated the graduation of three students on Thursday, bringing the number to 32 who have graduated from the school since it started in 1996.

The first five years were at the Harvest Christian Fellowship church on Route 31 in Albion. After five years the school moved to Medina at Calvary Tabernacle Assembly of God, which uses the old Medina High School at 324 Catherine St.

The Christian School uses the northeast wing of the old school, and it’s been a great fit, said Linda Strickland, administrator of OCCS.

“This has been the perfect building for us,” she said. “It has an auditorium, hallways, big classrooms, the gymnasium.”

But the school is moving out, headed to the Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship on South Gravel Road in Shelby. The old high school has been purchased by Roger Hungerford and Talis Equity and will be renovated into apartments.

“It is bittersweet leaving this building,” Strickland said. “Calvary Tabernacle has been very good to OCCS, and we will be eternally grateful for their hospitality.”

Vince Iorio, pastor of Calvary Tabernacle, welcomes the audience to the graduation and achievement night program. Iorio graduated from the old Medina High School with the Class of 1972. He said the church has been proud to partner with OCCS the past 17 years.

Hayley Farewell

There were 21 students enrolled at OCCS this school year in grades 1 through 12. Three students – Hayley Farewell, Abbygal Fuller and Camille Pollock – graduated on Thursday, when many alumni returned for the final graduation program and achievement night at the old high school.

Farewell delivered the graduate address on Thursday. She has been a student at the school for eight years, and praised the staff for their support, especially since her mother, Christina Ashton, died on June 27, 2016.

“The OCCS staff has been there for me in the worst time of my life and the best time,” Farewell said.

She has been a student the past two years at the Orleans-Niagara BOCES, taking classes in the security and law enforcement program. She will attend St. John Fisher College in Rochester this fall to study law enforcement. Her goal is to become a state trooper.

Linda Strickland, school administrator, congratulates students during achievement night.

Russ Peters, pastor of Alabama Full Gospel Fellowship, said the church is pleased to welcome the school starting in the fall.

Abbygal Fuller was praised by Strickland, the school administrator.

“She is always willing to try and she conquers,” Strickland said. “OCCS is better because Abby walked our halls.”

The other graduate, Camille Pollock, was unable to attend the ceremony because she has a key role in a dance recital. She was expected to be presented her diploma during the recital.

Strickland said the school is Christian based, and has a weekly chapel service. The small-school atmosphere is nurturing for students, she said.

“There is a need in the county for this school,” Strickland said. “As long as they need, we’ll stay open.”

Many of the students have struggled in the public schools before coming to OCCS.

“We focus on what you can do,” Strickland said. “We’re here primarily for the Christian education, but we’ve also become a comfortable place for people to learn and be themselves.”

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