Gillespie High School seniors picked up their diplomas on Sunday, but Saturday was a time for them to reflect on their high school tenure, pray and hear some words of inspiration.
The baccalaureate service was renewed for the class of 2017 by Emily Barylske after the event was not held for last year’s graduating class. The event was held at the Gillespie Civic Center less than 24 hours before the graduation ceremony.
Although very short and scarcely attended, the ceremony was impactful for the seniors wishing to participate. Barylske welcomed the audience of around 30 people before members of the high school chorus opened the service with a song. Reverend Arthur Roemer praised Barylske for spearheading the renewal of this years’ service on behalf of the Area Ministerial Association.
Elementary physical education teacher John Wiemers was the speaker for the event telling students Saturday’s service was his first time attending a baccalaureate service.
Wiemers started his message to the seniors with a story about “Jimmy”. In summary, Jimmy could never beat his grandma in Monopoly, but he finally was able to defeat her years later after strategic coaching from a new friend. While defeating his grandma at a holiday event, Weimers explained that Jimmy was very vocal during the game slurring arrogant and derogatory insults to his grandma. After defeating his grandma and disgusting her by the way he treated her, the grandma told Jimmy, “At the end of the game, it all goes back in the box. The only thing you have left is how you chose to treat the people you were with.”
He spiraled on by telling the seniors that the simple story should serve as a reminder to always treat everyone how they want to be treated.
Wiemers concluded by reminding students of four gifts that “God blessed everyone with”: 1) the power to choose telling students you are shaped by your choices, 2) unique potential asking students to strive to God by using their potential to the fullest, 3) the opportunity to stay fit mentally, physically and emotionally, and 4) keeping a relationship with God informing students the relationship with Him “is a two-way street with his side of the road always open”. Wiemers urged students to have a daily conversation with God to stay fit spiritually but reminded students they have to have their own motivation to initiate the conversation and they have to be available to God.
Seniors taking part in this year’s ceremony included Barylske, Hannah Doty, Kaitlin Hancock, Allison Schardan, Kendra Cherry and Kylie Dannis.