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Class of 2024 signs out

Highest California scholarship federation members in one class
The class of 2024 celebrates the annual senior sunrise with breakfast burritos and morning devotional.

Graduation marks a bittersweet time as seniors conclude their journey at Fresno Christian High School and make plans for the future. This year’s graduating class consists of 52 seniors, embarking on the next chapter of their lives. These students have made FCS their home and have created countless memories.

Among the seniors:

  • 33 are staying in California.
  • 16 are heading out of state.
  • 11 are attending community college.
  • 13 are going to Grand Canyon University.
  • 8 are student-athletes who will continue playing their sport in college.
  • 40 are members of the California Scholarship Federation.
  • 32 of the 52 seniors raised over $5.3 million in scholarships.

Remarkably, out of the entire senior class, eight students have been enrolled at FCS since their early preschool years, making this transition year even more significant for them as they move into college as young adults. They are no longer the little kindergarteners who marvel at the tall, big kids as they are now the big kids. Friends part ways as they head to different universities.

Seniors celebrate National Decision Day on May 1st by sporting their future schools merchandise. (Benson Elbert)

Grand Canyon University (GCU) continues to be a top choice for college for FCS grads. The university offers many robust scholarships to seniors. The university also organizes paid adventure trips, giving seniors a comprehensive view of the campus and its offerings. GCU has been a significant blessing to FCS families, both financially and spiritually with its biblical viewpoint. This graduating class sees 13 students heading to Arizona, pursuing various courses from Liberal Studies to Labor Delivery Nursing.

Opting for a community college is a wise and economical decision for many of this year’s seniors. The local community college options provide honors programs and online classes. This year’s graduating class will see 11 students attending community college and two joining the honors programs. Community college typically takes two to three years to complete, after which students graduate with an associate’s degree and can then transfer to other institutions.

Fresno Christian High School is extremely proud of its student-athletes, many of whom play multiple sports while maintaining their academics. It is no surprise that eight of these seniors have signed up to play their sport in college, earning multiple scholarships. Seniors Grace La Croix and Kegan Brunnemann will both be playing soccer for the Masters UniversityLa Croix is thrilled about continuing to play soccer in a Christian atmosphere.

Senior, Grace LaCroix, poses with her family, siblings, and niece, for her soccer senior night. (Hailey Higton)

“I’m extremely excited to be playing soccer in college,” La Croix said. “This allows me to play the sport I love at the next level. It’s a great opportunity to play soccer surrounded by a faith-based community, which will allow me to grow in my skill as well as my faith.”

As the seniors are leaving the Fresno Christian campus, there are several events that hold special memories.

Kicking off the year with Senior Sunrise, the students gathered on the field at 6 a.m. to celebrate the first day of school. After finding a comfy spot to lay their blankets, Seniors Paige Deffenbacher, Donavan Guglielmana, Grace La Croix, and Serenity Cortez led their classmates into a time of worship. Seniors Jake Wyatt and Cortez also led devotionals for the group. The crowd then came together to share their personal goals and prayers for the new school year.

Deffenbacher will remember those early morning moments forever, and says it made starting senior year feel real. 

“Everyone was sleepy because it was super early, but it was sweet because we weren’t worried about being the most talkative or energetic,” Deffenbacher said. “We owned the fact that we were super tired and just had fun waking up together.”

Seniors attend the annual retreat held at Hume Lake. The students participated in multiple field games, kayaking, and roasting s’mores over an open bonfire. (Benson Elbert)

Jumping forward to September 24-25, the students attended Hume Lake Christian Camps for the annual senior retreat. They participated in various group activities that united them together; these activities included skit night, relay race courses, and bonfire night. Bonfire night is on the first night and students had the opportunity to share their favorite memories. 

During the trip, each senior signs the senior class spoon. It is a sentimental tradition passed down for around 30 years. This tradition and the senior trip create and environment for the seniors to reflect on their memories for years to come.

McKenzie Sue, ‘24, treasures the time she got to spend with her friends on this trip.

“Personally, what made the Senior Retreat special for me was the quality time with friends and specific chapel times that were geared toward our class,” Sue said. “I’ll always remember going out on the huge paddle board with my friends and just laughing as we drifted across the lake.”

The royal court winners participate in court field games as well as the traditional dance battle. (Benson Elbert)

Then the seniors reached the most anticipated event of the year: Homecoming! On Oct. 27, with voting underway, the candidates donned their fanciest dress wear in hopes of becoming part of the ‘23-’24 homecoming court. The theme was “Lights, Camera, Homecoming,” and students spent hours building floats, dressing up, and cheering on the candidates who played homecoming games. 

The Royal Battle was the competitors’ final chance to get votes; each pair created a dance routine to a song from a movie or musical. Senior Homecoming Queen Gabriella ‘Gabby’ Hutchenson and her partner Kaleb Marquez, ‘24, performed an upbeat routine to a song from the “Mamma Mia” musical.

“My favorite homecoming memory was the royal battle,” Hutchenson said. “We had to have practices with the whole court, which was so much fun! It brought us all together, and took the pressure off! It was such a great experience I’ll never forget.”

Before the king and queen could be announced, the Fresno Christian Varsity Football team took on the Orcutt Spartans; The Eagles defeated them 42-24. Then it was the moment everyone had been waiting for – the 2023 royal homecoming court was announced to the school and audience.

Throughout the school year, our seniors are commemorated for their involvement in sports. At these proclaimed “senior nights,” the students are introduced to the spectators with their favorite Bible verse and gifted with baskets put together by parents and coaches.

The six football seniors were honored with their families for their dedication to their sport and their team. This consisted of four homeschoolers and two attending Fresno Christian. (Julia Castiglione)

With their family and friends around them, each senior gets the opportunity to be celebrated in their last season on a Fresno Christian team. This proves a special time for them, and none are spared from the dozens of pictures snapped by the crowd.

Benjamin ‘Ben’ Karlson, ‘24, was involved in both varsity football and tennis and has a great appreciation for the senior night memories he made.

“I like having a senior night because it helps me see all the work I have put in the last four years, and all of the effort my teammates have put in as well,” Karlson said. “I also like having my friends and family come out to support me for the last time. I’ll always remember the Friday night lights.”

These are important core memories that seniors will take with them as they part ways and head to different universities.

Please join us to celebrate the seniors at the 43rd annual Commencement Ceremony! This event will be held at Peoples Church on May 23rd at 7 p.m. Doors will open and seating will begin at 6:30 p.m.

For senior memories visit Senior Sock Exchange and Senior King Candidates

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About the Contributors
Chloe McDonald
Chloe McDonald, Editor
First-year journalist Chloe McDonald, ‘24, is excited to begin her writing journey with The Feather Online. Chloe values teamwork and helping the campus stay informed. Chloe enjoys art of all mediums and serving her school through leadership class, with all glory to God. In her free time, she can often be found painting, lifeguarding, or walking her dog.
Delaney Meyers
Delaney Meyers, Journalist
First year journalist Delaney Meyers, 26', is excited to join The Feather Online and begin her writing journey. Delaney strives to learn the inner workings of journalism and online media. She is an ardent reader, movie enthusiast, and loves music. When she is not playing tennis, she cheers on the Fresno Christian cheer team. Delaney hopes that with dedication and hard work that she can grow as a writer and as a person.
Benson Elbert
Benson Elbert, Photojournalist
Benson Elbert, ‘26 is an aspiring first year photojournalist for The Feather. Elbert aspires to improve his writing and photography skills with help from the team. He has worked in his family's breakfast restaurant, Batter Up Pancakes,  since he was a kid. Elbert has also led the campus through the leadership class since his freshman year, hoping to continue to lead till senior year. After high school he aspires to be a computer programmer and design videogames.
Hailey Higton
Hailey Higton, Photojournalist
Hailey Higton is launching her freshman year as a photojournalist for The Feather Online at Fresno Christian Schools. Known for her tenacity on the soccer field, and in life, Hailey dedicates herself wholeheartedly to cross country, high school worship team, and children’s ministry at The Well Community Church. Hailey’s creative ambition is on display through her graphic art, videography, reels, and social media posts that aim to glorify God, celebrate student success and build school spirit at FCS.  
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