Journey to Excellence Ceremony

Looking from the outside, the white stucco building framed with a chrome-gated entrance seems nothing more than a building wedged on a busy street. But looking up to see a cross, it would be clear that the building is a church. Inside, there’s a relatively small, furnished hall with 200 plush, red chairs, and an adjoining room — separated by a glass-enclosed wall, for additional seating.

On Saturday, June 7, the church — named Queens Faith Temple of Seventh-day Adventists (QFT), hosted a special Education Day celebration themed: “The Journey to Excellence.”

Around 11 a.m., the church sanctuary is near seating capacity, while a Bible study program wraps up and is followed by announcements. The celebration began with 18 graduates, dressed in blue and yellow regalia, marching down the church’s aisle to be seated in the first three rows. With all the pomp and circumstance, there is an air of pride and joy that fills the church.

“This is a special day!” said Pastor Clyde Thomas, program coordinator of the special event. “We are here to honor the achievements our graduates have attained and inspire others to reach their educational pursuits.”

For an hour, graduates from kindergarten to university status were individually and collectively recognized with a medal of honor or awarded with a bronze-plated plaque.

“I almost welled up with tears receiving so many touching messages from my church members,” said Ms. Jellisa Grant, a recent college graduate. “I really love my church and the support they have given me through my years of study.”

Ms. Grant graduated with honors and plans to become an attorney.

“No matter how smart you are, put God first and allow him to lead your life,” said Dr. Waitline Williams, who shared her story of earning her doctorate in nursing.

Other notable mention were given to two Adventist Education institutions: Greater New York Academy and Northeastern Academy, for their continued commitment to Christian education. In addition, members from the community, including New York’s Caribbean Life newspaper and the Queens Press were specially recognized for their media services to the Queens community.

The sermon was preached by 12-year-old, Charles Clarke, and 11-year-old, Anthony Trim, taking turns on the topic: “Go for the Goal!” Each delivered inspiring 20-minute messages about athletes who had to overcome defeat on their journey towards the achievement a higher education.

“One day, when they’re all grown up,” said Pastor Thomas, referring to the two young men, “they’ll look back on this moment and remember that we, as a church body, took the time to cherish and devote our time to honor their hard work in school and the community.”

Queens Faith Temple is a faith community rooted in the beliefs described by the Holy Scriptures. Programs like the Education Day celebration are hosted once a year. The church is located at 217-03 Merrick Boulevard, Springfield Gardens, NY. To learn more about QFT, visit:

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