Our youth haven’t lost faith

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bravo to the Ironton High School class of 2013!

I attended the May 25 baccalaureate service of this graduating class as the father of a student (Katie Bruce), but I left with high respect for Katie’s administrators, teachers, and most especially, her classmates.

By definition, a baccalaureate is a Christian-based service orchestrated for the purpose of giving thanks and showing appreciation – to class members and to God.

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Principal Joe Rowe, with whom I am proud to have graduated from IHS in ’86, opened the ceremony by noting IHS is one of the few schools that still conduct a baccalaureate service. And following a pledge to the flag led by Aaron Stephens and singing of America the Beautiful, audience members found out why. We were treated to an invocation that most schools across our nation would have forbidden in deference to political correctness.

Josh Glover took the podium, asked everyone to bow their heads, and delivered an earnest and sincere prayer on behalf of his classmates. And he ended his prayer with the most beautiful, yet most controversial, demonstration of gratitude: He thanked God for his Son, Jesus Christ.

I’m not a model Christian, far from it, but I fully believe in the One Josh Glover delivered up in thanks to the Lord. After his prayer, excited voices in the crowd confirmed others were as astonished at Josh’s boldness as I. In our society, people are afraid to publicly mention Jesus — but not this young man and his classmates.

On two more occasions, students (Stephens and Cody Wise) delivered Bible verses as roadmaps for their peers. Jordan McMaster followed Wise’s Bible verse with a mature breakdown of the importance of Biblical-based decision-making, followed by yet another display of gratitude for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

We hear so many stories about impossible kids with no direction in life. But, as Rowe noted multiple times, this class is different. They’re talented. They’re creative. And they also have faith.

The entire service, of course, wasn’t just worship and praise. Many light-hearted moments and displays of talent took center-stage.

Kylie Thomas, Madison Jackson, Brooke Miller, Madison Kerns, Ashley Jones, and Brad Pierce all showed off their vocal superiority in various solos, duets, and trios.

Trent Barnett added his own parody of Drops of Jupiter, with lyrics aimed at the hopes and dreams of his peers.

Shelby Deborde, Tanner Schweickart, Savannah Burge, and Glover delivered messages ranging in topic from humorous to philosophical to retrospective. Special guests Isaac Glover (Josh’s father), Isaac Adams, and Rev. James H. Stowe of Quinn Chapel AME Church provided additional musical entertainment.

A humorous slide-show featuring baby pictures of each graduating senior followed by their most recent photo added more laughter to the already light-hearted evening. Personally, my favorite baby picture was of Dion Brown. If you weren’t there, ask him to show you the picture.

And then, Tanner Dutey closed the student-led ceremony with the benediction…and yet more praise to God for Jesus Christ.

Say what you will about our youth. They’ll make mistakes. None of them are perfect (as are any of us). But I am ultra-impressed with these kids, most especially their unabashed willingness to publicly acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives.

This old dog learned a thing or two today from our young pups!

God bless these kids and Ironton High School…in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen!


Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at hollandkat3@aol.com.