A student's voice about baccalaureate
I am a graduating senior at WHS this year, and was enthusiastic about participating in the baccalaureate service to celebrate my graduation. I went to the planning meetings and offered to help in any way I could.
Things did not turn out as I had hoped, however, and in the midst of the concerns raised by parents and leaders, I felt that my view as a student would shed new light on the situation. After all, the baccalaureate is a service planned by the students for the students; or so I thought.
I am a member of a Christian church and have always been active in ministry and youth group activities. I have been open about my strong faith in Christ and have lived a life in high school to glorify God. I feel that it's not really important what I do, however, but what's in my heart that makes me a Christian.
The baccalaureate committee seems to think otherwise. I was told by the committee that I could not participate in the baccalaureate service because I was not fit to be a good witness. They said that I had made a mistake once in my personal life, and they didn't want that kind of person to be an example.
Sure, I would be allowed to sit in the audience and maybe even sing behind the camouflage of the choir, but I would not, under any circumstance, be allowed to stand on the platform to perform a song or confess my Christian faith.
The committee planning this service has taken on the roles of judges, only letting the students perform who have squeaky-clean reputations and have never made a mistake.
What was supposed to be a celebration of our graduation has turned into an evangelistic event where the committee gets to parade its idea of "perfect Christianity" on the platform to be an example to all of us "sinners" in the audience. They have failed to show what I hold to be the true values in Christianity: love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
If they knew me at all, they would know that yes, I do make mistakes, just like everybody else. They would also know that I have a tremendous love for Jesus in my heart and that I have asked for forgiveness for these mistakes and have moved on in my life.
The Bible says that only God can judge a person's heart, and I wish that the baccalaureate committee had kept that in mind while turning away so many seniors with so much love to show.
I would encourage all families and students planning to attend this service to seriously think about what I have said before supporting the event.
WHS graduating senior (name withheld by request)