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    Godspeak celebrates 2020 Grads

    By Michael Hernandez

    NEWBURY PARK–The COVID-19 pandemic tried to snatch graduation festivities from hard-working students worldwide but not for the 20 graduates that Godspeak Calvary Chapel celebrated in a special “Fireside Chat” (Episode 53) honoring 11 high school and 9 college students Monday.  The graduating group included a doctorate recipient and two graduates from the Philippines.

    The “Celebrating Our 2020 Graduates” ceremony began with  a short tribute message from Godspeak Pastor Rob McCoy who shared:  “…Just know that God hasn’t given you a Spirit of fear but Power, Love and a Sound Mind.  The world is an amazing place and freedom is to be cherished and fought for.  Your generation is the one that has paid the greatest price and you are mightily equipped to make the world free again.  You are the generation of Liberty.”

    The high school graduates (their high schools and favorite scriptures) included:

    • Levi Lee (Trinity Pacific Christian):  Deuteronomy 14:29
    • Nicole “Nikki” Saurman (Oaks Christian): Mark 5:34
    • Michael McCoy (Oaks Christian):  Deuteronomy 31:6
    • Julia Cendejas (Trinity Pacific Christian):  2 Corinthians 12:9
    • Trevor Kessler (Newbury Park):  Philippians 4:13
    • Calista Wright (Westlake High):  Philippians 4:13
    • Jireh Y. Ibanez (St. La Salle, Bacolod, Philippines): Colossians 3:12
    • Tessa Tenner (Trinity Pacific Christian):  Isaiah 58:11
    • Patrick Roberg (Oaks Christian):  Isaiah 1:18
    • Sydney Hewitt (Royal, Simi Valley):  Philippians 4:13
    • David Tipton Hoekendorf (Beacon Hill Classical Academy): Psalm 20:7

    The college graduates (their colleges and favorite scriptures) included:

    • Alec Nave (Biola University: BA in Cinema & Media Arts): Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
    • Jonathan Linquist (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: BS in Materials Engineering): Jeremiah 29:12-14
    • Alexander Tyler Chatoff (California Lutheran University: BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice):  Ecclesiates 3:1-8
    • Franky Y. Ibanez (Baptist Bible College in Bacolod, Philippines: BS in Theology):

    1 Corinthians 16:14

    • Allison Green (Azusa Pacific University: BA in Business Administration):

    Isaiah 41:10

    • Nathanael Linquist (Azusa Pacific University: BS in International Business & Economics): Philippians 1:21
    • Luke Wolfe (UC San Diego: BA in Economics): 1 Peter 4:8
    • Travis Corey Uslan (Cal State Channel Islands: BS in Biology): Isaiah 49:31

    Doctorate Degree:

    • Dr. Lauren Elizabeth Cook (Pepperdine University in Clinical Psychology):

    Psalm 23:1-4

    Introducing the graduation keynote speaker, Lt Col. Steven Chealander, was pilot and businessman David Glinke.  Chealander  spoke to the graduates about 10 virtues taken from William J. Bennett’s:  “The Book of Virtues:  A Treasury of Great Moral Stories:” self-discipline; compassion;  responsibility; friendship; work; courage; perseverance; honesty; loyalty; and faith.”

    Lt. Col. Chealander, a former U.S. Air Force Thunderbird pilot, who carried the “football” (the nuclear briefcase always by the President of the United States) for President Ronald Reagan ended his message by showing the Godspeak graduates a clip of the Thunderbirds flying over the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation on April 18.

    The graduates also received a signed copy of “The MAGA Doctrine:  The Only Ideas That Will Win the Future” written by Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA.

    The graduation verse was taken from Joshua 1:9:  “Be strong and courageous, Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged, for the Lord Your God will be with you wherever you go.”

    “You have a calling unlike any other generation in history,” said Pastor McCoy to the graduates.  “This is our blessing to you tonight.  We want to encourage you; and inspire you; and to launch you; as we ask God’s blessing upon you.”



    (Editor’s Note:  To view the special presentation of graduates–their pictures, hobbies, activities and accomplishments–done by Christine Cendejas with assistance from the graduate families: go to “Fireside Chat” Episode 53.)


    Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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