Families and friends gathered at the Hesperia Community Church Friday night to celebrate the graduation of 24 students of Hesperia Christian School.

Following announcements, Pastor Ben Trahan gave the Timothian Award to the student who best lived out 1 Timothy 4:12 to valedictorian Miranda Dupree. Dupree will attend Vanguard University to study music and composition.

Salutatorian Jessica Wood, who plans on attending St. Mary's College of California to study business and economics, shared her experience of attending Hesperia Christian since sixth grade.

"What mostly struck me was how strongly God permeated through every subject and teacher," Wood said of her school. "My prayer for our future is that we fearlessly submit to the plan God has for each of our lives."

Dupree's valedictorian address stressed that people are not "prepared to live until we are prepared to die."

"You won't find something worth living for until you find something worth dying for," Dupree said of her Christian faith. "Begin living a life that is worth dying for."

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of the California's 33rd Assembly District was the commencement speaker for the night. Donnelly told the graduates that he had never been so impressed with a class.

"This is our future right here," Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said.

Donnelly went on to stress that the future of the American government lay in the hands of young people.

"The purpose of government is to secure rights rights that derive from our Creator. When government comes along to destroy it, we have the right to alter or abolish it ...Yes, our community has difficult days ahead. But the answers are not found in the Republicans or the Democrats. Because politicians don't have the answers, they are the problem," Donnelly said. "Do you know what the solution is? The Patriots."

Donnelly shared how he became an assemblyman with the audience and how important it was not to listen to people who told him that he couldn't do it. The most important thing, he told them, was that they should never let anyone tell them they couldn't do something.

"There is no shortage out there of people who will tell you 'You're not going to invent the next iPhone.' I got a question for you: why not?"

Donnelly encouraged the graduates to carry a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States with them and to hold fast to their freedom and faith.

"We are the government, we the people," Donnelly said. "Change starts with you people when you refuse to be told what you cannot do."