26 for 26: Largest Southwest Covenant class graduates

Patriots' Class of 2021 honored at annual commencement ceremony in packed sanctuary

SWCS graduating senior Grayson Reuter receives a congratulatory hug from coach Trey Cloud with Justin Price behind him. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

It seemed appropriate that Southwest Covenant’s 26th commencement featured the presentation of diplomas to 26 graduating high school seniors.

Yukon’s private Christian school celebrated the 26-member Class of 2021 during the May 21st graduation ceremony inside a packed Covenant Community Church sanctuary, 2250 S Yukon Parkway.

SWCS 2021 Senior Class President Tyler Kelly reads a letter to his mother and father during the May 21st graduation ceremony. (Photo by Mitzi Aylor)

The Patriots’ graduating class is the largest ever in the school’s history.

In accepting the 26 SWCS seniors for graduation, Headmaster Steve Lessman pointed out the Class of 2021 had an average 25 ACT score and received more than $1.7 million in scholarship offers.

“We are proud of you and excited for your future,” Lessman told the group as they embarked on the next phase of their lives.

Lessman referred to the great respect Southwest Covenant’s faculty has for each individual student – and for the whole class.

The headmaster encouraged the Patriot graduates to embrace their identities – as they represent their families “so remarkably” and the Class of 2021 as SWCS alums.

But there is one other identity – above any other – the class will carry with them.

“You belong to Him,” Lessman told his graduating seniors. “You are a child of God.

“He will never let you down.”

Lessman advised the students that God loves them despite their failures, struggles and sins.

Members of Southwest Covenant Schools’ Class of 2021 celebrate their graduation during a May 21st commencement ceremony inside Covenant Community Church, 2250 S Yukon Parkway. (Photo by Mitzi Aylor)LAST TIME TOGETHER


During the May 21st commencement, Class Valedictorian Clare Olivia Warner reminded fellow 2021 Patriot graduates that this would be the last time the class would be together.

“This is the first of many endings” in their lives, Warner added.

“May God bless each of our futures.”

Family and friends in the audience join members of the SWCS Class of 2021 in a closing prayer read by Headmaster Steve Lessman. The Covenant Community Church sanctuary was packed with friends and family for the graduation program. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Other SWCS Class of 2021 valedictorians stood beside Warner during her speech – Ayden Alexandra Carmack, Emma Elizabeth Riggs, Kassidy Rose Rubes, Allison Elizabeth Ward, and Laurel Jeanine Wilbanks.

Class of ’21 salutatorians are Alexandra Jo Davis, Alexa Grace Inge, Tyler Levi Kelly, Elizabeth Nicole Mitchell, and Justin Daniel Price.

Class of ‘21 honor graduates are Amara Don Foret, Alexus Elizabeth Gormley, Tucker Keaton Holloway, Emilee Lynn Liberton, Alec Blake Riddell, Avery Grace Roark, Austin Cole Snipes, and Jaelie Gabrielle Warner.

Other class members are Kyler Lane Beshears, Kirk Brady Cole, Jayden Wallace Cooper, Jacob Paul Ellison, Deaken Paul Koonce, Grayson Jake Reuter, and Sydney Reagan Shields.

Southwest Covenant’s 26-member graduating class is the school’s largest ever. It seemed appropriate this was SWCS’ 26th commencement. (Photo by Mitzi Aylor)


As has become tradition, all 26 SWCS Patriot graduates read aloud letters they addressed to their parents during the May 21st commencement.

While they each crossed the stage, Secondary Principal Kevin Cobbs introduced the graduating seniors and detailed their accomplishments.

SWCS Board Moderator Stacy Webb and Headmaster Lessman presented diplomas.

SWCS Class of 2021 valedictorians are: From left, Allie Ward, Laurel Wilbanks, Clare Warner, Emma Riggs, Ayden Carmack, and Kassidy Rubes. Warner – a National Merit scholar who scored a perfect 36 on her ACT – presented a speech on behalf of the valedictorians. (Photo by Mitzi Aylor)

Meanwhile, SWCS Academic Coordinator Elizabeth Bowers shared senior testimonials for the audience.

Another highlight of the graduation program was when Class President Tyler Kelly read the Class of 2021’s Bible verse, Job 23:10:

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Kelly then handled over the Bible to next year’s class president, Jesse Judkins.

Headmaster Lessman referred to the senior class Bible verse during his remarks, noting gold represents the “trophy of God’s grace in your life.”

As the world challenges them in everything they have been taught, the new Patriot graduates were reminded not to forget the Gospel that made each of them a child of God.

“Trust and believe in Christ … it will be the strength that carries you in hard times,” the SWCS headmaster added.

Southwest Covenant’s graduating seniors and the audience stand at attention during the National Anthem led by C.J. Carpenter. (Photo by Mitzi Aylor)


Southwest Covenant, 2300 S Yukon Parkway, was founded in 1982 at an independent, Bible-based educational ministry.

The school’s purpose is to provide a discipleship training ministry to equip students for a lifetime of service to the Lord.

Southwest Covenant’s Christ-centered instruction models the love and acceptance of Christ and promotes an uncompromising Christian worldview.

The school’s standards of academic excellence uniquely prepare students to impact their community, country and world to the glory of Almighty God.