Catholic teen only graduate of Alaskan Christian high school

Fairbanks, Alaska, Jan 14, 2009 / 10:00 pm (CNA) .- A World Youth Day 2008 attendee was the only person in her class to graduate from a small Alaska high school.

Marchelle Renner was the only 2009 graduate of North Pole Christian School, which she attended since kindergarten.

Her final year marked the first time Renner was in a class of one.

“She’s awesome, and we’re totally proud of her,” said Renner’s mother, Rochelle, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Eielson Church of Christ Minister Kevin Knight spoke during the graduation ceremony, giving Renner advice for her future.

Using American Express advertisements in which celebrities say their cards have given them things like freedom and independence, Knight told Renner, “You have something better than an American Express card — you have the God of the universe.”

Renner delivered her own reflections at the ceremony, saying that the most important thing she has learned was to think of God not only in the bad times, but also to remember Him in the good times.

She also noted the most memorable moments in her life, such as her five mission trips to Mexico.

“It’s seeing the children and the love they have for God, even though they don’t have much else,” Renner said.

She plans to take a sixth trip in January, the Daily News Miner reports.

Renner’s father Mark described his daughter as adventurous and determined. He said he saw her take charge in a thoughtful and caring way during her trip to World Youth Day in Australia.

“We’re so blessed to have her as a daughter,” he said.

Renner, who graduated a semester early, said she plans to work and save for college. She wants to study secondary music education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks but is unsure whether to become a music teacher or a youth minister.

According to a post from Renner at a Catholic social network, she loves playing sports, especially soccer, and enjoys snowboarding, paintballing, playing guitar and singing.

She also writes about her habit of going “to lots of church stuff,” going four-wheeling, hanging out with friends and picking on her brothers.