Read Rich’s speech to fellow 1944 graduates of Grand Rapids Christian High

In this speech drawn from the 1944 Grand Rapids Christian yearbook, Rich thanks faculty and reminds classmates of their class motto: ‘Service for God and Country’

President’s Address … June 1944

Dear Parents, Teachers and Friends:

What does the future hold?

What does the future hold for us, the graduating class of 1944, as we pass this milestone in our lives and begin our journey upon life’s pathway?

These are serious times, and we know not what lies ahead; but regardless of what the future may have in store for us, we can face it courageously because of our Christian viewpoint on life.

It is, therefore, that we as a class have chosen the appropriate motto, “Service for God and Country.” The first part of this motto is applicable to all of us, for we have been placed upon this earth to glorify our Father in heaven and this must always be our aim in life.

The second part of our motto, “Service to Country,” applies directly to those of us who will soon be leaving to serve in the armed forces of our country: but no matter in what sphere of life we may find ourselves, we must all keep “Service for God” foremost in our minds.

A historic black-and-white yearbook photo of a group of high school students, with Rich DeVos in the back row, second from right.1/2
In this photo from the 1944 Grand Rapids Christian High School yearbook, Rich DeVos is shown in the back row, second from the right.
Historic black-and-white photo of Rich DeVos in high school.2/2
Rich DeVos’ senior photo from the 1944 yearbook of Grand Rapids Christian High School.

With this as a class motto, we have something worthy to strive for, and we realize what a Christian education has meant to us in this connection.

For this, we would like to express our deepest appreciation to our parents who have sacrificed and loyally supported our school. They knew what this Christian education would mean to us in the future.

We also wish to express our gratitude to Mr. Post and the faculty who have so willingly and patiently labored with us during our stay at Christian High. We now realize what an important part they have played in the molding of our lives.

We sincerely wish to express our thankfulness to our personal advisers, especially to our class sponsors, Mr. De Vroome and Mr. Vander Ploeg, who have devoted much of their time to the guidance or our class.

We are also indebted to those groups who labor behind the scenes, to the board members who so willingly give their time and talent for the successful operation of our school, and to the Ladies’ Circle and other individuals who contribute much to the well-being of our school. To them, we say “Thank you.”

The time has now come to say “Farewell” and to bid “Good-bye” to one another and to our beloved school. As we look back on our short stay at Christian High, we realize it has been a pleasant one. We have made many new acquaintances and lasting friendships. Our studies were mingled with pleasures, oftimes more pleasure than study. We have seen a transition in our lives, from boys and girls to young men and women.

From now on, our paths will diverge. Some will continue their education. Others will take their places in the business world and some of us will be called to serve our country. But no matter where we are or what we are doing, may we always hold high the Christian banner and fight to maintain our Christian principles.

Our class text will be a constant source of encouragement in carrying out this ideal – “Trust in the Lord with all they heart and lean not upon thine own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.”


Seeing Potential

In this video, Rich DeVos talks about an inspirational comment that a teacher wrote in his yearbook and how a single line influenced his life.