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Huckabee Headlines VHA’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

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The sanctuary of the First Baptist Church in Vidalia was buzzing with excitement on October 5 as attendees of Vidalia Heritage Academy’s 25th Anniversary Celebration awaited former Governor Mike Huckabee’s keynote address.

Vidalia Heritage Academy celebrated the school’s quarter-centennial anniversary with an elaborate program, complete with performances by the VHA Marching Eagles (led by Chester Proctor) and 3rd-5th Grade Choir (led by Suzanne Dixon), a student address by sophomore Rylee Toole, and a keynote address and special music finale by Governor Huckabee. VHA Headmaster Jeff McCormick introduced Huckabee by highlighting his service to Arkansas as one of the longest serving governors in the nation, his presidential runs in 2008 and 2016, and his work in the Education Commission of the States.

Huckabee began his address by explaining how easy it is to become discouraged with things going on in the nation. “One of my favorite things in this life is events like this, because sometimes it is easy to get discouraged about the future of our country,” he told the crowd. “I see people that think it is okay to burn a police car, to torch a federal building, to go into a store and gather up merchandise – VHA

YOUNG VOICES — Vidalia Heritage Academy celebrated the school’s quarter-centennial anniversary with an elaborate program, complete with performances by the VHA Marching Eagles (led by Chester Proctor) and 3rd-5th Grade Choir (led by Suzanne Dixon), above, and a student address by sophomore Rylee Toole.

HAPPY OCCASION — Attendees of the VHA 25th Anniversary Celebration were thrilled to meet keynote speaker former Governor Mike Huckabee, far left, during a VIP reception. Also shown, center, are R.T. Stanley and Diane Stanley, Georgia Congressman Rick Allen, top right, and Toombs County Commissioner David Sikes, bottom right.

not even run out the door, but casually walk out and wave at the people in the store because they know no one is going to stop them or prosecute them.”

He continued, “I see these things, and I am deeply concerned for our country. Even more so, I am deeply concerned when people seem to be confused about God’s Law. Even Jesus made it perfectly clear: there is male and there is female.”

He detailed his thoughts on this identity crisis throughout the nation by comparing it to when he pretended to assume different occupations, such as an astronaut, police officer, and even a garbage man. He told attendees that although temporarily identifying as these things while pretending, it did not change his true identity, and connected this to the wide array of genders society is currently experiencing.

“We are living in a world that tells young people that they can just imagine things and it makes it so,” he argued. “We need to tell them it does not make it so. We live by rules – either God’s or the ones we make up ourselves. We either believe that God created us or we believe that we created God.” Huckabee paralleled modern day events to the events during the days of the Biblical book, Judges, where the people wandered from God’s law to their own laws and ways.

He also connected these issues and events in the nation to his experience as a musician. Huckabee is a bass instrumentalist and has played with many famous artists, including Willie Nelson and Travis Tritt. “I may not be a great musician, but there is something I do know about music: you cannot nor are you ready to play any piece of music until you first tune the instrument,” he shared. “If you don’t tune the instrument, it is not going to be music; it’ll be noise.”

“Music can only be played when the instrument is tuned to something that is consistent and objective,” he continued. “Truth is when we have taken our lives, not tuning it to what we think or believe, but tuning it to something that is solid and the same. Do you know why your school is so important? It is because you are helping to tune the students to something that is consistent and that which will last.” According to Huckabee, Christian education is important to society because it prepares students for the future. “I believe it is out of schools, like this wonderful academy, that future governors and senators and presidents and legislators will be made. They will be future school board members, and all sorts of community leaders and workers will come from here. And if that’s the case, we might get this country back to where it once was. But if schools like this cease to exist, I don’t have a whole lot of hope.”

Huckabee presented a charge to attendees by arguing that every individual has been called to be a light of hope in a dark world.

During the Student Address, Rylee Toole presented a similar message by questioning, “Is this the America the Founding Fathers Envisioned?” in which she discussed the possible thoughts of the nation’s current status by those who founded it. Huckabee even commented on Toole’s presentation. “What a remarkable young lady with a gift for writing and the poise for speaking,” he said. “A lot of young people could not get up in front of a crowd like this, full of adults, and express words so powerfully.”

McCormick informed the crowd of a popular motto that encompasses the school’s goal in providing a Christian education to its students. “We often share the phrase, ‘Carpe Aeternitatum,’ around the school. You have probably heard of the saying, ‘Carpe Diem,’ which means to seize the day,” McCormick said. “But at Vidalia Heritage Academy, we hope to teach and inspire students to ‘Carpe Aeternitatum,’ or to seize eternity.”

The sold-out fundraising event brought in additional contributions that allowed the school to top its goal of $100,000.This funding will now be used for supplies, such as new technology, to continue the efficiency and success of the school.

McCormick expressed his gratitude for the success of the celebration. “We cannot be more pleased with the outcome of the event,” he said. “We feel like the event was not only good for VHA, but good for the community after all that it has endured through the last year because of the pandemic. We are grateful to all who helped make this happen and look forward to many more years of success at Vidalia Heritage Academy.”


Photo by Deborah Clark

Photo by Deborah Clark

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