McDONOUGH, Ga. — An academically and athletically gifted senior class at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy has amassed more than $50 million in college scholarship offers this year, an astounding total for any school but especially one with only 81 students graduating.
In a heartwarming speech at graduation exercises on Friday, co-salutatorian Melanie Collier praised her classmates for being a “special class filled with special people.”
“Something about our class is different,” Collier told her classmates. “You’re ambitious; you’re brave; and you’re remarkably gifted. I feel excited for all the people you’re going to meet in these next few years, simply because they get to know you and that in itself is a privilege.”
Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church Lead Pastor Trea Brinson said this year’s class racked up numerous state and national honors. The group includes a Presidential Scholar and a National Merit Scholar. Five members of the school’s football team received scholarships to NCAA Division 1 universities. They’ll be playing at Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Clemson and Wake Forest.
The graduates will be going on to a wide variety of colleges and universities, including the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, West Point, Spellman, Tuskegee, Howard, Hofstra, Penn State and Northwestern.
Brinson said the success of the graduates is an indication of how God is blessing the mission of Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy.
“What’s most impressive is that these kids embody what it means to walk with Christ, to talk like Christ, to share Christ,” Brinson said. “We’re trying to prepare every child to be sent into the world as missionaries sharing the gospel of Jesus. We’re preparing them intellectually, academically, athletically, in every way, for what’s next in life.”
Brinson said the Eagle’s Landing graduates have always been highly sought after by colleges and universities. In fact, he said, this year’s scholarship offers bring the total to more than $101 million for the past nine years.
Eagle’s Landing, in the sprawling Atlanta metropolitan area, serves an ethnically diverse population. At last count, 146 languages were being spoken in the metro area. The student body at Eagle’s Landing reflects that diversity.
“It’s the nations among us,” Brinson said. “Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy is very, very diverse. This is every nation, every tribe, every tongue, right here.”
Doug Campell, assistant head of school, said 79 of the 81 graduates are professing Christians.
“They don’t all come from homes that raise them in the Bible,” he said. “We’re an evangelistic school. We get students from all walks, and we get a chance to win them to Jesus.”
Campell said he’s confident that as graduates of Eagle’s Landing, one of Georgia’s most academically rigorous college prep programs, graduates are ready to take their faith to campuses across the country.
“They’re going to be totally outnumbered when they get to the secular classrooms, so our job has been to prepare them,” he said.
Collier encouraged her classmates to continue to trust in the Lord as they move to the next chapters in their lives.
“There will be times when everything seems to be going right, but there will also inevitably be times when it feels like everything is going wrong,” she said. “During all of these times, trust in the Lord’s guidance. I know I mentioned earlier that you are smart, but He is smarter.”
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