Alicia Perry                      972.267.1111
                          [email protected]



Inspiring Teen Featured in ‘ConGRADulations! Class of 2008’ DVD

She may have only one arm, but Bethany Hamilton stands among some of the best surfers in the world, currently ranked in the top 10 in the World Qualifying Series. It has been almost five years since the shark attack in 2003 that claimed her left arm; but today, the 18-year-old is surfing better than ever. This May, she celebrates another accomplishment – high school graduation – and is featured in the No. 1 graduation gift of this decade.

ConGRADulations! Class of 2008, a CD/DVD/gift book highlighting top Christian music artists, includes a video of Hamilton addressing her peers about her high school years. She gives credit to the example and friendship of her youth pastor and talks about how being homeschooled has allowed her to surf competitively. She also gives timely encouragement to fellow graduates about setting goals and never quitting.

“I use my gift of surfing to show people that you can do anything if you set your mind to it,” says Hamilton. As for the future, she says, “I plan to travel the world and compete in surfing; but for now, I’m going to play it day by day and see what God brings to me.” Next year, Sony Pictures plans a theatrical release of her story.

ConGRADulations! is a new technology resource with messages for graduating seniors aimed at keeping young people connected to their faith once they leave home. It features today’s top artist-songwriters in Christian music bringing songs and video counsel to help graduates deal with the key issues of this major life transition: the future, success, friends and personal faith.

“We are pleased not only that Bethany is a part of the ConGRADulations! project, but also that her powerful documentary, ‘Heart of a Soul Surfer’ is being bundled with ConGRADulations! as an even more special graduation gift,” said Allen Weed, president of interlínc, which produces ConGRADulations!.

Along with video clips of 2008 graduates like Hamilton, the DVD features graduates from past ConGRADulations! projects in “What I’ve Learned” videos, offering insightful, road-tested advice. The CD includes music from Switchfoot, tobyMac, Relient K, Flyleaf, Leeland, Family Force 5, Stellar Kart, and more.

New for 2008, the project contains a 48-page graphic gift book with artist song lyrics and quotes from featured graduates, and a customizable gift package for inclusion of personal notes and gift cards. Graduates are encouraged to visit the resource Web site,, which offers an online devotional journal, an online Bible, links to top college and young adult ministries and a year-in-review video.

“We believe that this is more than a gift,” Weed said. “It serves as a tool to celebrate an important life milestone and to provide a lifeline as grads jump into this pivotal transition.”

According to a recent Pew study on religion, 25 percent of young people aged 18-29 are unaffiliated with a religious group compared with an average of about 16 percent of all other adults. Weed believes ConGRADulations! will help encourage graduates to stay grounded in their faith.

With more than 1 million copies given to grads by 25,000 churches, ConGRADulations! is the No. 1 graduation gift of this decade. Since 1990, the annual graduation gift has used the language of the era to speak to graduates about life’s important choices. Back then, it was music on a simple audio cassette. Now, it has expanded to a music CD, a DVD, and a gift book, as well as an online component.

Based in Franklin, Tenn., interlínc links the resources of the Christian music industry with the needs of youth ministry, recognizing that music is one of the most powerful forces affecting the youth culture today and that today’s Christian music has the content to encourage, convict and change lives. For more information see

The ConGRADulations! Class of 2008 project bundled with the “Heart of a Soul Surfer” DVD is available online at, or by calling interlínc at 800-725-3300. Suggested retail for the CD/DVD/Gift Book set is $12.95, with special bulk pricing for youth workers and churches. The bundled price is $19.95.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information on ConGRADulations! Class of 2008 or to request a review copy or interview with Bethany Hamilton or Allen Weed, contact Alicia Perry at 972.267.1111 or [email protected].

Bethany Hamilton
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