BHS students graduate despite rain

Published 5:34 pm Friday, May 25, 2012

Bainbridge High School’s Class of 2012 graduates didn’t let a hailstorm Tuesday night or a thunderstorm on Wednesday night keep them from receiving their diplomas.

It was almost midnight Thursday morning before the graduates received their diplomas in the gym on the BHS Campus — eight miles away from where graduation had begun at Centennial Field, four hours before.

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A hail storm and rain had postponed graduation from its original time on Tuesday night, so the ceremony had to be postponed until the next day.

On Wednesday evening, it seemed as if weather wouldn’t affect graduation — there was only a slight chance of rain forecast.

But as BHS Principal Tommie Howell prepared to present the graduates their diplomas, drops of rain began to fall. It was just a few drops at first, but then a sudden downpour sent everyone scrambling for shelter. The graduates and many of their family members and friends gathered underneath the stadium’s bleachers, while school faculty and staff took refuge in the fieldhouse, where the diplomas were taken to be kept dry.

A short time later, as it continued to rain, the graduates returned to the field and posed for a group picture, seemingly ready to receive their diplomas in the rain if it was allowed. But a lightning detector installed at the stadium for safety purposes went off, and Principal Howell asked the students to return to shelter for their safety.

Shortly before 10 p.m., the faculty met briefly and it was announced that graduation would resume at the BHS gym at 11 p.m. Although they all had to stand up, the graduates were able to receive their diplomas and celebrate by throwing their caps into the air above the basketball court.

Quiana Childs received the Mary Davis Pilot Club Award, given to the top all-around female graduate.

Ja’Quavius Jones received the Earl Carr Gragg award, given to the top all-around male student.

The awards are named in memory of a teacher and student who died in 1946 in the Winecoff Hotel fire in Atlanta while on a school trip to Y Club Youth Assembly.

Senior speeches

Please see our related post containing the transcripts of the three senior speeches and the senior poem.

“Tonight, however, we celebrate more than what we have achieved in the past,” Valedictorian Anne Reynolds said in her speech.  “Tonight, we celebrate what we may achieve in the future. Our graduation is a gateway leading to greater dreams and greater accomplishments. Each of us have the potential to change lives, to make an impact, to leave our mark upon this world — but to do so, we must dream big.”

“From this point on, we get to choose how we are presented to others; we can be whomever we choose to be,” Salutatorian Leigh Spooner said, in her speech. “It is time to take responsibility for our lives and truly become independent. I hope that all of you graduating are excited to find out who you will become. Our identity is no longer about the choices of our parents and families; who we are is now solely up to us.”

In her senior speech, Emily Ward encouraged her fellow graduates to continue to stay in touch with their friends, family and mentors and learn life’s lessons.Ward closed her speech by quoting Elle Woods, the famous character in the movie, Legally Blonde.

“‘It is with passion, courage of conviction, and strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering that first impressions are not always correct,” Ward said. “You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.’ Congratulations class of 2012 — we did it!”

Others participating in graduation were Caleb Ford, who read a prayer after a moment of silence; the BHS Air Force JROTC, who presented the Georgia and U.S. flags; Quiana Childs, who led the Pledge of Allegiance; Class President Anyé Miller, who gave remarks; Macy Phillips, who read a poem she had written; Mitchell Massengill and Sarah Margaret Bush, who recognized the honor graduates; and senior choir members, who performed “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C and led the singing of BHS’s alma mater, “The Purple and Gold.”

Seniors who read the rows of graduates’ names were Austin Sapp, Jo-Hannah Brock, Kristin Pollock, Ashten Oldaker, Jodedaycya Sanders, Carolina Crowder, Savannah Cook, Jessica Rogers, Morgan Rogers, Mary Anna Cunningham, Marc Fleetwood and Hannah Williams.


Please see our related post containing the transcripts of the three senior speeches and the senior poem.

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