By Ryan Cornell
For the first time in school history, two students at Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy will be sharing the title of valedictorian.
Emma Culler and Mitchell Ryan are this year's co-valedictorians after each attained 4.0 GPAs and a slew of honors.
Kim Nicewarner, assistant to the superintendent at the Stephens City school, described the 21 seniors in this year's graduating class as having "a very good heart for missions." She said it was impossible to decide between either of the top two students.
"Everything was exactly the same down to their GPA, their community involvement, their missions trips," she said. "They're pretty well-rounded students, playing sports, members of the National Honor Society."
Culler will attend Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, and Ryan plans to attend Liberty University after studying at Lord Fairfax Community College.
The salutatorian of the class, Sarah Hyre, will serve in Uganda for six months and then attend Lee University, Nicewarner said.
Ron Bishop, founder of SCORE International, an organization that establishes orphanages, medical clinics and recruits people for overseas mission trips to the Dominican Republic -- where SVCA students served earlier this year -- and Costa Rica, will deliver the commencement address.
Before founding SCORE in 1985, Bishop coached the basketball team at Tennessee Temple University, and his ministry uses sports as a way to bridge gaps between villagers and missionaries.
The graduation ceremony will be held at Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org