Honors -- Lifetime CSLA students Mikaela Raudsepp and Halah Grobey graduate as the school's top pupils

Mikaela Raudsepp and Halah Grobey first attended C.S. Lewis Academy as preschoolers and have been best of friends nearly ever since.

Not only are they the lone pair of the 16-member C.S. Lewis class of 2014 to have been at the school that long, they graduated Saturday as its best students, having earned valedictorian and salutatorian honors, respectively. Raudsepp’s 4.0 grade-point average was just a hair better than Grobey’s 3.97.

by: SETH GORDON - The long haul - C.S. Lewis Academy Mikaela Raudsepp (left) and Halah Grobey began their careers at the Christian school as preschoolers and finished them Saturday as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.The duo has been playing sports together since middle school, including leading the Watchmen volleyball team to it first-ever state playoff appearance this year.

Athletics proved to be an important part of bringing the school together after C.S. Lewis and Open Bible School merged last summer and CSLA’s high school and middle schools moved from their old home on South College Street to Open Bible’s campus on North College Street.

While the newly-renovated gym provided an important communal space for the school, Grobey said it took a few weeks to acclimate to the new school building, which allowed students to see each other in the halls frequently, unlike in their former building, which featured trips down tight and meandering hallways between classes.

“Being the first class to graduate here, we’ll kind of be remembered that way,” Grobey said. “I’m proud of how we portrayed ourselves through setting that example and bringing the new tradition over here, with the gym and everything just becoming more ours because sharing or renting space from someone else it never really felt like ours. It kind of put our stamp on it.”

Grobey said C.S. Lewis provided the perfect environment for her development, including helping her to come out of her shell socially, which also helped her academic growth.

“It was a very encouraging atmosphere so that I could feel that working my hardest was always worth it, that I was getting something out of it and I felt good about myself,” Grobey said. “It was always really rewarding.”

Leading the transition between campuses and helping welcome former Open Bible students and introduce them to CSLA’s specific culture, like attending camp to bond and be silly for a week before starting classes, was an important responsibility for the senior class.

Raudsepp said she felt prepared for that challenge, even though there was no road map for them to follow, because of the support the school has always provided.

“This was an environment that challenged me to be the leader I knew could be, that I had the potential to be,” Raudsepp said. “It came into fruition here through both staff and students placing those responsibilities on you and challenging you to figure it out or encouraging you to go chase something.”

While Grobey will attend Whitworth University, likely to study music, Raudsepp hopes to study for a career in the medical field while playing volleyball on an athletic scholarship at Wichita State University in Kansas.

“Being able to start and end the class period with a hug from your teachers and an encouraging word is great,” she said. “I’ve never been in a place where it’s so personal. Yes, that can be annoying when you don’t want people to know everything about your life, but I don’t think I would be the same person today if I hadn’t been thrown into these relationships.”

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