15 graduate from Early Morning Seminary

Special to GateHouse Media Florida
Some of the most recent graduates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints seminary training in Northwest Florida are (back row, from left) William Corbin, Weston Tew and Silas Hammond; (front row, from left) Victoria Blood, Julianna Roberts, Paige Stephani, Makell Burbidge, Madeline Wood and Rachel Cooley. Graduates not pictured are Alyssa Carr, Jacob White, Jessica Boden, Lauren Olinger, Sally Clifton and Elizabeth Ives. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

NICEVILLE — Fifteen teenagers graduated from four years of Early Morning Seminary.

A ceremony took place June 2 at the Niceville Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Every school day these young people rose early enough to attend class at 5:45 a.m. throughout their high school years. All agree that it is a great way to start the day attired in the "Armor of God."

Crestview 1st and 2nd Ward graduates are Victoria Blood, Makell Burbidge, Alyssa Carr, Silas Hammond, William Corbin, Westin Tew and Madeline Wood. Graduates also included Jacob White, Destin; Jessica Boden, Fort Walton Beach. Niceville 1st and 2nd Ward graduates are Rachael Cooley, Lauren Olinger, Sally Clifton, Elizabeth Ives, Julianna Roberts and Paige Stephani.

President Joe Anderson conducted the ceremony, with President Mike Roberts presiding. The graduates presented the program with their talks and musical numbers. Pianist was Ashley Roberts.

Silas Hammond opened with the invocation. Those who spoke and bore their testimonies were Weston Tew, Madeline Wood and Page Stephani. Julianna Roberts treated the audience to a solo, "Joseph Smith’s First Prayer." Jalayne Haverfield acknowledged the course completion for the year by 70 students, in addition to the 17 graduates of all four years.

Two Young Single Adults, Bailey Hensley and Lucas Maschmeier, invited the new graduates to the Institute program, which meets on Tuesday evenings. This year the youths studied Church History, and ended with an excursion to Palmyra, New York, and the historical sites there. 

The seminary's area sirector is J. Jonathan Austin, the area coordinator is Tadlee Welty, and support specialist is Vicki Carter. The teachers who serve these early morning students without pay are Cody Wood, Leslie Dannelly, Heather Ives, Megan Hammond, Hally Thomas, Amy Herf, Kathryn Burbidge and Kristie Moeller.

Weston Tew, who will soon leave for a two-year mission in sign language, shared his thoughts on the program.

"I am grateful for the dedication of all my teachers who served over the years, their hours of preparation and their passion for their work. I learned so much as we studied page by page, and it will serve me well on my mission," Tew said.

Victoria Blood said her testimony grew during her sophomore and junior years, and she became dedicated to studying the Scriptures. She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to learn and grow during those high school years line upon line, precept upon precept.

President Roberts concluded the program with stories from the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon. In both examples, the heroes’ preparation assured the success of their endeavors. Rachael Cooley gave the closing prayer.