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Baccalaureate service to offer emotion, meal

Posted on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm

MILFORD – Seating will be plentiful at the Caroline High School baccalaureate service, which promises to pack an emotional punch complete with a childhood slide show and the ‘passing of the torch’ candle ceremony on June 6.

Seating will be limited at the Caroline High School graduation ceremony June 7 at Mary Washington University, but seating will be plentiful at the baccalaureate service.

The baccalaureate service will be at 6:30 p.m. in the school gym. It is open to all graduating seniors, their families, guests, faculty, and school administrators, said the Rev. Dana Brawley, who helped plan the ceremony.

The ‘passing of the torch’ portion of the baccalaureate service involves lighted candles. A graduating senior will hold a lighted candle and pass it to a younger sibling or underclassman and they will walk out together, said Brawley, minister of students at Salem Baptist Church in Sparta.

The service also will pay tribute to David Jones, a student and basketball player who would have been a part of the class of 2013; Jones collapsed and died after a basketball practice in June 2011. Known for an engaging personality, he was also on the school track team. Jones had moved to Caroline from Brooklyn, N.Y.

“We are inviting his family and having a moment of silence,” Brawley said. “One of our students will sing a song as part of that.”

Beverly and Craig Lily of Young Life Caroline County, a religious organization, will speak to the graduating seniors and present them with a challenge. The Rev. Marvin Fields of Second Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dawn will make closing remarks.

Other participants will be Misty Ziadeh, Brandi Jackson, Diamond Giles, Devonne Johnson, Shaquia Lewis, Dakota Johnson, Savannah Sabie, Brooke Brooks, Curtis Leacock, Kisan Beard, Jessica Tolliver and Briana Garnett.

Each senior attending will be presented with a special gift as memento of the service.

Immediately following the baccalaureate service, there will be a free meal and reception in the school cafeteria. “Many local churches have partnered together to make this meal a success,” said Brawley. The meal will include fried chicken, green beans, salad, macaroni and cheese, homemade rolls and cake.

“The baccalaureate service has continually grown over the past three years,” Brawley said. It was 300 to 350 last year and is expected to be 450 to 500 this year.

Before 2010, attendance had dropped below 50, “and we didn’t even have a baccalaureate service in 2010,” Brawley noted.

In recent years the school division has mailed flyers to the homes of graduating seniors, and that has helped increase attendance, along with involving students in the planning process.

The baccalaureate planning team is also made up of students, so it is a service “put together for students by students,” Brawley said. “The FISH Club of Caroline High School, the Caroline County Student Ministries Association, along with many local churches, are sponsoring the baccalaureate service.”

Seniors who want to participate in the baccalaureate service should bring their graduation gowns to the school no later than 5:45 p.m. on June 6. Seniors will meet in the auditorium and enter the gym together.

For more information, contact Brawley at (804) 357-4616 or