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Class of 2021 Graduate Reflection

Class of 2021 Graduate Reflection

by Victoria Quiroga on May 20, 2021

As many of you know, my name is Victoria Quiroga. I am a senior at Klein Cain High School, and I’ve been attending this church with my family for over 7 years. This place and the people in it have become a cornerstone in my life and I would like to take a moment this morning to address the just a few of the many ways that this church has shaped the latter part of my childhood, and nurtured my faith into a relationship with God I can have without the confines of an altar space.

Firstly, VBS. I had never heard of Vacation Bible School at my pervious church but fell in love with it when I did it at Saint Dunstan’s. Now, I can’t really speak on the experience of being a camper because I only participated as a camper once but being a crew leader is a memory I will cherish for a long time. I was a Preschool crew leader for two years, and an elementary crew leader for going on three years. As a crew leader I learned skills like multitasking, how to clean up a messy craft project which was ironically made from bar of soap, how to clean up entire pans of spilled water from the floor, and how to not be ashamed to dance like a fool during worship even if the actual kids think I’m a dork.  But more importantly, I was able to witness, first-hand, the purity of the childlike faith that God calls us all to live our lives in.

Perhaps the memories I cherish most in my time at Saint Dunstan’s is the time I’ve spent with the youth group. The youth group has given me the opportunity to give back to the community and learn about God in life changing ways. Often times youth group simply entails meeting each Sunday evening, sharing a meal, playing a game, and doing a Bible study. Nevertheless, the youth room, or lately, the youth zoom, provides a safe haven for its members. We can always speak freely and openly, and we have been gifted with loving youth leaders who go out of their way to show us God’s love (sometimes this entails weekly drinks from Sonic during quarantine.)

I have also been given the blessing of a wonderful thing called Group Camp! Each summer the youth group makes its way to Rocksprings, Texas to spend a week at Camp Eagle. During the week we learn to further our trust in one another and be vulnerable. Camp Eagle is a place for adventure, loads of fun, and bonding with your brothers and sisters in Christ. As a youth group we’ve developed countless inside jokes, like “on delay,” the tumor football which now sits on a shelf in the youth room, and Kara breaking her ankle in a clear field. Literally, there was absolutely nothing, no rocks or holes in the ground. She had to miss ziplining with a broken ankle and she didn’t even have the decency to break in on one of the trails! I digress. One of the greatest losses of 2020 was not being able to experience Camp Eagle for my fourth year in a row, but this summer we are back in business and I couldn’t be more excited for my final experience as a camper. I will always be indebted to Saint Dunstan’s for affording me such experiences and it is going to be one of the things I miss most in leaving my childhood.

I appreciate Saint Dunstan’s for the welcoming atmosphere it has created within the parish. I’ve always felt that I could invite any of my friends to church with me on any Sunday. (Shout out to Elise, McKenna, and Jenna who are here with me today, prom was really fun last night.) I’ve always felt that if I wanted to sing in the choir, I would gladly be given music. I’ve always felt safe to make mistakes, especially as an acolyte because Lord knows there is silent chaos behind the altar more Sundays than I care to admit. I’ve always felt that even if I had the worst week of my life I could come to church and the Renzes would still think I was the coolest big-kid on the planet.

So on behalf of myself and the rest of the graduating class of 2021, thank you Saint Dunstan’s. Thank you for all the anonymous prayers we’ve received over the years. Thank you for the community we have and the bonds that have come from that community. And thank you for a Christ centered church that expands beyond this campus. One which allows people, such as myself, to leave knowing they can always come back, because, really, they never left at all.

Victoria Quiroga

Tags: youth, speech, senior, graduate

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