At baccalaureate, high school seniors challenged

May 19, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

INWOOD, W.Va. - Graduating high school seniors in Berkeley County soon will be getting words of wisdom during their graduation ceremonies.

On Sunday, students got advice of another form at the annual baccalaureate program, where the guidance was heaven sent.

The baccalaureate program has been held for years as a way for ministers, school officials and others to offer spiritual advice to seniors.

Although it has a long history, its popularity has varied over the years, said Bill Queen, member of the Berkeley County Board of Education.


Attendance at some baccalaureate services has been as few as 50 people in past years, Queen said.

"We're trying to resurrect it," Queen said before the start of Sunday afternoon's services inside the auditorium of Musselman High School.

About 200 students and parents from the county's three high schools, as well as teachers and administrators, attended the ceremony.

Board of Education member Bill Norris got the crowd active by asking parents and their sons and daughters to stand. Then he asked the parents and children to hug each other, and said it is important that both parents and students keep each other in thought through prayer as the seniors begin a new chapter in their lives.

"When they leave the shelter of our homes this year, it's so important we keep praying for each other, holding each other up in prayer," Norris told the crowd.

Queen said he wanted to address the students to tell them about four "C" words. The words were "not original, not unique" but important nonetheless, Queen said.

The first word was congratulations, said Queen, saying seniors have achieved more than they thought.

The second word is challenge. Seniors must challenge themselves to be "everything you want to be," Queen said.

Third is community. Queen told students to remember their community and give back to the one they make their home.

The fourth word was choices. Queen told students that they will shape their lives through choices, a process which continues until death.

The main speaker was the Rev. Michael T. Myers, a familiar face in the Tri-State area through his appearances on television, his work as a magician and other careers.

Myers used passages from the Bible to teach the lessons of life.

Myers recounted a story from the Bible in which a woman, who was a sinner, went to a house where Jesus was eating dinner. In those days, it was customary for people's feet to be washed before entering a house due to dusty roads, Myers said.

The woman, ashamed of her background, only would approach Jesus from behind and washed his feet with her tears, Myers said.

"Are we willing to serve like that?" asked Myers, at times mixing his messages with magic. "Are you going to humble yourself each and every day or are you going to go with the crowd?"

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