FCS 2022 Graduation Story

This year's graduation speech was delivered by graduate Jonah Petri.
Read the speech in full, below.

Good evening, everyone. Thank you so much to all of you for being here today. It is an honor and such a privilege to be standing before all of you with this accolade.

First off, I want to congratulate the class of 2022 for all of your hard work and devotion to this school in your years here at Faith Christian School. I want to thank Mr. Baur, Mr. Smith, and each and every one of our faculty for helping us get to this point and coordinating this event. I want to thank each of the parents for all of their sacrifices and all of the love that you have poured into each of us. I want to thank my parents specifically for their sacrifices and their willingness to proofread my many papers in Mrs. Knight’s and Mrs. Hopkins’ classes as well as their willingness to step up and be involved in my countless athletic events. So once again thank you, mom and dad; I love you both so much. And finally, I want to thank these seniors for their labors and toils to get to this moment. Many months ago, Mr. Smith asked us who we thought were our best friends. At the time, I responded that I did not know how to answer that question. But I can confidently say now that you all have been my best friends for a long time, and to me, you all are my home.

FCS Class of 2022
I’m going to speak to you all about what it means to be a warrior. Many of us have walked these halls seeing the word “warrior” printed everywhere for as long as we can remember. But many of us haven’t taken the time to come to understand what it truly means to be a warrior. I want to explore that meaning today. But before I give my charge to you, I’m going to start by telling you all a story. In our junior year, many of you know that I was temporarily crippled. The students here would say that I wasn’t running for a club office, I was crawling for it. (You all know who you are.) While I was on crutches, it was almost impossible for me to carry my backpack because it weighed about as much as I did and would drag me to the ground. One time, when it was wet outside, my crutches slipped and went literally flying across the room as I sat there on the floor. At that moment, I had never been so embarrassed yet so relieved that I didn’t fracture yet another ankle. When I would pull in every morning, I would hobble my way into school, but one day right as I was about to get out of my car, I could see my classmates running toward my car as fast as they could while carrying a grandma-style knee scooter. Mason grabbed my backpack, Sam opened my door for me, Trace helped me onto this knee scooter, and Evan just sat there awkwardly as all this unfolded (No, I’m just kidding; he carried my crutches – love you, Evan). As I strolled in through the door with the guys next to me, the girls would also help me with my books and consistently ask me if I was okay. Each of my classmates served me when I desperately needed their help. This act of service defines the Faith Christian School class of 2022. That is who we are. We serve others when they are in need of service. So, what does this have to do with being a warrior, and what is a warrior?

A warrior defends those who need protection. A warrior serves those who are in desperate need of help. A warrior is selfless. A warrior fights with honor. A warrior fights with love. And a warrior does all of these things without question. And we, dear friends, we are called to be warriors like Christ on behalf of others. We are called to be warriors like Christ on behalf of others. We are called to honor God by fighting the spiritual battle that surrounds us by being a warrior like Christ. And we are called to serve others by being warriors on their behalf. Just as my classmates served me when I was struggling, so does a warrior serve those who are in need of service. When we look to Scripture, Psalms 28:7 says, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore, my heart exults, And with my song, I shall thank Him.” The Lord is our warrior, and so he calls us to be warriors like Him. I want to read you all an excerpt from a poem that coincidently fell out of my grandmother’s 1960s dresser just days before this speech. It’s titled “The Warrior,” and it reads:

I saw many wounds on the Warrior’s face, yet weapons of warfare were firmly in place.

I felt my heart weeping, my eyes held so much as God let me feel the Warrior’s prayer touch.

I thought “how familiar” the words that were prayed, the prayers were like lightning that would never fade.

I said to God, “Please, the Warrior’s name.”

He gave me no reply, he chose to refrain.

I asked, “Lord, who is broken that they need such prayer?”

He showed me an image of myself standing there.

Bound by confusion, lost and alone, I felt prayers of the Warrior carry me home.

I asked, “Please show me, Lord, this Warrior so true”.

I watched and I wept, for mother….the Warrior—was you!


For this poet, the warrior was someone who was right there all along. And for each of you, there is a warrior who is right there, too. It is you. You are a warrior. We are called to be warriors like Christ on behalf of others. This is our ultimate calling: we are called to serve. This is what it means to be a Warrior.

(Jonah delivered a personalized charge to each member of his class)

I charge you all to be warriors like Christ on behalf of others. Congratulations, class of 2022! Though this season in our lives may be finished, a new season has begun. I love you guys. Thank you.