The Ventura (CA) Star newspaper today carried the following story about the appointment of a Grace Brethren High grad to West Point. John McIntosh is pastor of the Simi Valley Grace Brethren Church, with which the school is affiliated:
By Jake Finch, Correspondent
June 10, 2006
His father and uncle went there, and his parents met at a dance there 26 years ago. For David Sprague, the United States Military Academy at West Point has always been a part of his family’s history.
Then when he was a high school sophomore, Sprague, 18, decided to make West Point part of his future. “I got my grades up, made myself the best athlete I could and got into leadership,” Sprague said.
The Moorpark teen’s efforts paid off when, on Friday night, a West Point representative handed Sprague his acceptance during his high school graduation from Grace Brethren School in Simi Valley.
At the commencement at Grace Brethren Church, 52 other seniors also collected diplomas from the private Christian school.
Principal John Hynes told his graduates not to waste their opportunities because they could do great things. “Character is higher than intellect,” Hynes said.
Pastor Kevin Hall, a Grace Brethren graduate and former teacher who will return to the school next year to teach, delivered the commencement address. Reading passages from the Bible, Hall advised the graduates to remember God is their guide. “I want you to sit back tonight and get some perspective on life,” he said.
It is Grace Brethren’s emphasis on Christian belief that Sprague said he valued and would miss. “It’s a moral environment and really emphasizes virtues and students’ beliefs,” he said.
Hynes said Sprague was not what “you would think of as a Grace Brethren kid” when he started high school as a small and shy kid. “He’s excelled over the last four years in every way,” Hynes said. “Spiritually, he’s one of the most spiritual kids. His teachers and coach said he did everything we asked him to do. He’s incredibly intelligent,” Hynes said. “And he’s huge now.”
Besides his regular studies at West Point, which he hopes will lead him in to a history degree, Sprague will play on the West Point football team.
This year, Sprague was an offensive and defensive lineman for Grace Brethren’s football team. He also served as a mentor for other players and said he’s really looking forward to playing at West Point. “There’s nowhere else where you can have football camp and basic training in the same summer,” he said.
Sprague, who leaves for basic training in two weeks, said he’s looking forward to serving his country and has no worries about possibly seeing combat. “That’s my job,” he said. “They’re going to train me for whatever I come up against.”