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2019 Commencement Celebrates Our Graduates and Our Mission

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On June 1, 2019, Christian Heritage Academy held its first combined commencement in which we honored 20 senior graduates and 36 eighth grade graduates. This commencement marked a special year for the school as we neared the end of our 35th anniversary, as well as the 10th year of the upper school which was established in 2009.

Over 600 guests filled the CHA auditorium to celebrate the occasion. After a welcome and invocation from president Dr. Hertzberg, eighth grade graduate Nathan Chung read the school year verse, Mark 12:30-31. Dr. Hertzberg introduced the guest speaker, Karl Clauson. Clauson is best-known as the host of Mornings with Karl and Crew, the morning show that covers the 5 – 9 a.m. time slots on Moody Radio Chicago that engages over 33,000 listeners from Illinois to Indiana to Wisconsin. He is also a founder of 180 Chicago Church, a new inner-city church that describes itself as “a diverse group of people who dare to take God at his word.” It was with this pastoral heart that Clauson addressed his audience.

Clauson delivered a bold and eloquent message that challenged students and listeners to live the “greatest life” possible because of their Christian faith. He charged that the graduate’s life of faith should be one that constantly grows and does not diminish, one that captures “the adventure, the love, and the ‘jazz’ of what it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.” He urged students to “abide in Christ” (John 15), choosing close friends wisely, and growing stronger from tough times, what he called the “sacred scars of life”. He summed up his life and message in this statement: “There is no greater life than the life that is lived in Christ.”

The eighth grade class honored 36 graduates, and the commencement program listed and celebrated the awards of these distinguished graduates, including the Heritage Award (Ellie Moen, ALisha Zachariah), Wayne Luecht Service Award, Scholastic Achievement Award, and President’s Awards for Educational Excellence and Educational Achievement.

The senior class of 2019 is the seventh graduating class of CHA’s upper school, and CHA’s largest to date, with 20 graduates. The commencement program also listed the senior class of 2019 awards and honors. With a rigorous college-preparatory program and its range of honors, AP and dual credit courses, CHA Upper School has historically had academically strong results, high standardized test scores and a high percentage of Illinois State Scholars. The class of 2019 continues this legacy of excellence, with 25 percent of the class designated as Illinois State Scholars, which is normally awarded to just ten percent of Illinois high school seniors. Other awards and honors for the class of 2019 included the Heritage Scholar Award, United States President’s Award for Educational Excellence, ACSI Distinguished High School Student Awards (through the Association of Christian Schools International) and National Honor Society and Athletic awards.

Rachel Kim, the recipient of the “Soli Deo Gloria” award, gave an address testifying of the years of guidance, love and support her CHA teachers have invested in her over the past 13 years of her life. “My teachers have always been there for me, whether it was spending time with me after school or listening to me. When I was going through difficult trials and experiencing stress, I was able to receive prayer, comfort, advice from teachers. Through the mentoring and training at CHA, I have become a disciplined leader, discerning student, and a daring follower of Christ.” Rachel will be attending Northwestern University this fall to study Global Health Sciences.

The Class of 2019 has a 95% college matriculation rate, with the highest number of matriculations at these institutions: Northwestern University (2), Wheaton College (2), Indiana University (2), Butler University (2), University of Illinois-Chicago (2).

In the fall of 2018, Emily Naubert signed to play volleyball for Samford University’s Division I women’s volleyball team; and in May, Curtis Thomas signed to play volleyball for Geneva College men’s volleyball, a Division III program. They follow in the footsteps of Josh Dinkelman, ’17, who played volleyball for Concordia University, Wisconsin, and Kayla McCoy, ‘15, who played for Duke University’s women soccer, was drafted to the Houston Dash and has made national headlines playing for the FIFA Women’s World Soccer Cup this year.

With deep life impact in the hearts of students, CHA and its commencement  ceremony continued to celebrate the far-reaching effects of Christian leadership in our school and beyond. President Hertzberg stated, “We are privileged to witness God at work in the lives of these young men and women. In all that they have done – from their academics to mission trips to athletics and the arts – they have exemplified our theme of the year, ‘Loving God, Loving Others”, and worked hard with excellence and humility. Our graduates have a bright future.”


“There is no greater life than the life that is lived in Christ.”  

“It is not your job to bear fruit. It is your job to have proximity to Jesus Christ. He bears fruit through you.”

“God uses the toughest things in our lives as tools to make us mighty men and women of God… Trust God for everything.”

– Karl Clauson