By Conrad Dudderar
An annual service will strengthen Yukon High School seniors in their faith and hope for the future after they graduate in a couple weeks.
The YHS Class of 2021 is encouraged to view the annual YHS Baccalaureate set 3 p.m. Sunday, May 16.
Sponsored by the Yukon Ministerial Alliance, the hour-long service at Yukon’s Good News Church will be live streamed at www.gn.church
“This is a student-led event,” said Pastor Tom Arnould, of the Yukon Ministerial Alliance. “The students come up with suggestions for classmates who will sing and who will share God-honoring stories of faith.”
Baccalaureate is a religious service in which a farewell sermon is addressed to a graduating class.
The entire YHS senior class student body, their family members, friends, and other school patrons are encouraged to watch the May 16th live-stream.
Featured speaker will be the Rev. Adam Frederick, children’s pastor at Victory Church in Warr Acres. His son Kole was the 2020 YHS class president.
Testimonies will be given by Makayla Gilbert and Drew Stomprud. To demonstrate the musical talent of the YHS Class of 2021, Jaedyn Kanatzar will sing a solo and Amanda Letter and Camden Carlisle will perform a duet.
Besides planning the annual YHS Baccalaureate, the 2021 senior class officers will participate in the service – President Cade Pope, Vice President Adrian Charquero, Treasurer Wendy Pina, and Secretary Camdyn Terry.
The May 16th program also will feature a video tribute to Yukon’s seniors from elementary, middle and high school educators.
“The class officers, their families and performers will be here at Good News Church,” said Arnould, who helps provide guidance to senior class officers. “Outside of that, everyone else will be watching online.”
A BLESSING TO THOUSANDS
YHS Baccalaureate has become an annual Yukon graduation tradition. Since 1995, the service has been offered on the Sunday afternoon before commencement.
COVID-19 forced Yukon’s baccalaureate program to become a virtual event in May 2020 – with more than 700 “views” reported.
The online format returns this year, allowing the service to reach a larger audience than previously.
“Sometimes we’re led by destiny, sometimes we’re led by necessity,” Pastor Arnould said. “It seems like the right thing to do to continue with the livestream.
“People can archive it and watch it on demand.”
Yukon’s Wanda Gamble is credited with reviving the YHS Baccalaureate service in 1995 after Yukon hadn’t had this pre-commencement religious service since 1975.
Gamble’s daughter Marci, who was YHS class president in 1995, is helping this year.
Pastor Arnould has been involved since 2004 as the Yukon Ministerial Alliance representative.
“Baccalaureate has been a blessing to thousands and thousands of students,” Arnould said. “It is a time in which students of faith can join with other classmates for a time of prayer, worship and encouragement prior to their graduation.”
The service had been presented inside the Yukon Fine Arts Center each year until 2020.
“We have been grateful for the Yukon Fine Arts facility and how generous the school has been to allow us to use the auditorium for baccalaureate,” Arnould said.
“We’ll eventually go back in-person but will always have that online option for people to watch.”