Pella Christian High School celebrated the graduating class of 2019 on Saturday evening.

The class had a total of 70 graduates. Parker Schnell was chosen by his classmates to be the student speaker for the evening and garnered many laughs. Schnell thanked faculty, staff, teachers, his classmates, parents and family.

“This school has taught me things that you can’t learn in a book,” said Schnell. “It’s given me things that I can’t get anywhere else.”

Schnell used a Rubik’s cube as a metaphor for the class. He highlighted memories and accomplishments, including defeating Iowa City Regina after four years, learning how to hold a cow tongue, making it to the UNI Dome for state football for two years and winning class competition during homecoming.

To make the transition to the real world less intimidating, Schnell gave the class “Parker’s Nine and a Half Steps to Success.” Steps included no more than three snoozes on the alarm clock, not measuring success by money or popularity, the importance of family and friends and taking chances.

“Unlike this Rubik’s cube, you can’t watch a ten and a half-minute video on how to solve life,” said Schnell. “But that’s OK, because life wasn’t meant to be solved. It was meant to be experienced and reflect God’s glory.”

Pastor Doug Van Der Pol gave the class address.

“As a pastor, I know that God has given you talents and gifts and abilities,” said Van Der Pol. “I know that you’ve been trained well at this school. I know that when you go out into the world, you’re going to do well. You’re going to be successful in this next phase of your life and beyond … but there will be times you feel as if you’re swimming against a big, strong current, which is sweeping you along with its power. It’s especially then that you need to remember God’s plan.”

Emily Hawk can be reached at or by calling the newsroom at 641-628-3882.