John Pearson, a physical therapist in Craig, addressed several misconceptions he said surround home schooling at a ceremony Friday night for four local students who earned high school diplomas and never stepped foot in Moffat County High School.
"My wife and I have home schooled our children for nine years and I can honestly say, it works," he said in his speech to family and friends who gathered to honor the four local graduates.
Christopher Brown, Ebbie Jones II, Teal Jones and Heidi Reiman were all presented diplomas at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion Friday during an hour-long ceremony.
Their teachers presented them with their diplomas.
Those teachers were their parents.
Pastor Rod Compton of Calvary Baptist Church, who also delivered a speech at the ceremony, extended his compliments not just to the students receiving diplomas Friday, but to their parents.
"I just want to say how encouraging it is for you to care enough about your kids to spend the time with them to educate them," he said. "You have no doubt spent many hours teaching your children and helping them become what God wants them to be."
Friday was the first annual Northwest Colorado Homeschool Association commencement ceremony.
Each of the four graduates wore caps and gowns just as one would in a ceremony in the mainstream school system.
One wall of the fairgrounds pavilion was dedicated to exhibits displaying the accomplishments, values and memories of each of the four graduates.
At a table dedicated to brother and sister Ebbie and Teal Jones hung two blankets that read: "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." -- Proverbs 3:6.
Heidi Reiman's table displayed pictures, newspaper clippings and certificates of her accomplishments as a Craig Fire Cadet.
Reiman hopes to pursue a career in fire fighting now that she has graduated.
Christopher Brown's display showed pictures of him playing soccer and the trophies and medals he has earned competing in the sport.
In the program distributed at the ceremony, each of the graduate's parents wrote an explanation of why they chose to home school their children.
Each parent said God had called upon them to educate their children, and said providing their children with a Christian education was a top priority for them.
"When a family brings a child into the world, God gives the parents the responsibility to teach them all things," Heidi Reiman's parents James and Bonnie wrote.
Heidi Reiman delivered a speech on behalf of the four graduating seniors.
"We ask for your prayers as we go out in the world with uncertainties," she said.
Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.