UNION COUNTY — A Union County High School student is hoping to not only bring back an old tradition but to once again make it a permanent part of the graduation experience for the school’s senior classes in the years to come.
Alana Wright is organizing a baccalaureate graduation ceremony for the UCHS Class of 2014 which will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday at Buffalo United Methodist Church. It will be the first ceremony of its kind in Union County in decades and Wright said she was inspired to organize it as a way of giving thanks to God for the blessings he’s bestowed upon her.
“I feel like the Lord has really blessed me in my life, especially in my senior year, I couldn’t have asked for a better year,” Wright said. “We all have talents and we should use them to glorify the Lord, to do His work and build His kingdom.”
Wright said she first heard about the baccalaureate ceremony from a cousin in Bennettsville who was involved in planning a baccalaureate for the seniors at their school. She said she asked her parents about it and they told her that they had taken part in a baccalaureate ceremony when they were young.
The experience of her cousin and her parents lead Wright to do research on baccalaureates and in the process she learned that it had been more than 20 years since there had been a baccalaureate ceremony in Union County. She said she decided to organize a baccalaureate for her class with the goal of reestablishing the tradition so that not only the Class of 2014 but subsequent classes will also have the opportunity to share the experience.
“This is student-led and I hope this will start to be a lifelong tradition as it used to be,” Wright said.
Saturday’s baccalaureate will feature an address by the Rev. Ron Towery, pastor of Buffalo United Methodist Church, who Wright said will speak on beginning a new journey.
Also speaking will be Darryl Phillips, a teacher at UCHS who Wright said will talk about goals.
Music for the event will be provided by the Buffalo Baptist Church Praise Band and Releasing The Captives, a Christian band.
Students who take part in the baccalaureate are asked to wear their caps and gowns and march in together when the ceremony begins.
Wright invited all her fellow seniors and their families to attend and take part in the ceremony which she described as an opportunity for worship.
“All seniors and their families are welcome and it will be open to the entire community,” Wright said. “It will be a worship service so all are welcome.”