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After Death Of Her Father Aboard U.S.S. Enterprise, Daughter Delivers Speech Affirming Life

Posted Jun 10, 2012 by Howard Altman

Updated Jun 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Shortly after finding out the news of her father’s death aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, Brooke Kessler delivered a salutorian speech at her high school.

This much I found out after reading a very nice story online in the Suffolk News-Herald.

In a school with a graduating class of only 14, things that affect one student tend to affect them all.

Such was the case for First Baptist Christian School’s graduating class on Saturday as they gathered at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church for their commencement ceremony.

With the death of the father of salutatorian Brooke Kessler fresh on the minds of students, families, faculty and friends, there was hardly a part of the graduation proceedings that did not bear the dual hallmarks of a memorial and a commencement.

Master Chief Petty Officer Richard J. Kessler Jr., 47, a logistics specialist with 28 years of service, was found deceased in his berthing compartment aboard the USS Enterprise on June 8 as that ship conducted operations with the Fifth Fleet in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to a press release from the U.S. Navy.

The Navy listed Kessler’s home as Gulfport, Fla.

FBCS high school Bible teacher and athletic director told the crowd attending the graduation ceremony on Saturday that the school was dedicating the proceedings to Kessler’s memory.

After being informed of her father’s death, Brooke Kessler said as she stood to give the salutatorian’s address, “I didn’t want to stand up here and give this speech.”

To read the full story, click here.

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