Go After God In A Big Way: NHS Class Of 2009 Holds Baccalaureate Services

May 25, 2009


The Northview High School Class of 2009 held their Baccalaureate service Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church of Bratt — the first time in the history of the school that Baccalaureate has not been held at the school.

nhs-baccalaureate69.jpgThe class motto sums up the story of the students’ struggle to hold a  Baccalaureate service: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

The school was not able able to organize a Baccalaureate service due to a new Escambia School Board policy preventing the school from promoting any religious ceremony. That policy was implemented after a federal judge issued an order against any policy or practice where school district employees promote or take part in prayer or religious services organized by the Santa Rosa County School District.

The Baccalaureate service was organized by the Northview senior class, led by class President Luke Killam.

“I am glad that we could gather to praise God,” Killam said after the service.

“I was proud of our class organizing the service,” senior class Vice President Briana Halteman said. “A lot of the community got involved and helped us stand up for what we believed in.”

“You can’t keep God out of schools,” Jason Oxodine, youth minister at the First Assembly of God in Atmore, told the graduates. “You went against the grain..and stood up for God.”

Oxodine said the school board and court decisions concerning religion in schools have made it hard for school personnel to function as leaders in the community “when they know that what you need most in your life is Jesus Christ.”

“Go after God in a big way,” the youth pastor urged the 42 students that took part in the service.

“Everlasting God”, “Glorious One”, and “My Saviour, My God” were among the songs performed by the Senior Ensemble at Sunday morning’s service.

Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas, Northview Principal Gayle Weaver and other school personnel were at the service but did not speak during the service.

For a NorthEscambia.com photo gallery from the service, click here.

Pictured above and below: Scenes from the  Northview High School Baccalaureate Service Sunday at the First Baptist Church of Bratt. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.



18 Responses to “Go After God In A Big Way: NHS Class Of 2009 Holds Baccalaureate Services”

  1. Samantha M. on May 26th, 2009 11:35 am

    Hey. I’m soo sad too see everyone of the Seniors graduating this year. I’m sooo proud of you all. I will miss you, Daphne Clark. You can always write me on myspace. Well good luck in life and always remember to have God in your life. He will always make things better. Even if you think they will turn out to be a mess.

  2. felicia amerson on May 26th, 2009 7:23 am

    Way to go! Always keep God first and he will take care of everything else God bless.

  3. john on May 25th, 2009 11:12 pm

    BAM, you need to come to church buddy, I will pray for YOU!

  4. Willene on May 25th, 2009 12:47 pm

    “Thankfull” I like your comment. God Bless All Of You.

  5. BELIEVER on May 25th, 2009 12:43 pm

    i couldnt be more proud of my class for pressing through this obstacle placed infront of us. i think the service was great and i am glad we didnt give up. i know GOD is proud of each and every one of us! i love you class of 2009. and remember to continue to pray for our schools. And to the courts….you can try to take religious activity out of the school system, but you will never take GOD out of it.

  6. thankfull on May 25th, 2009 8:01 am

    A Baccalaureate is not necessarily a relegious ceremony, although it is usually associated as one. It is actually a service of thanksgiving. I am very proud of the students of Northview and look at this as a positive situation. Now, as a service of thanksgiving, there will be no interference from the goverment or the ACLU. The students that don’t want to attend, don’t have to. If they have nothing to be thankfull for, they shouldn’t be at this service. No one would want to force someone to be thankfull. As far as teaching algebra,english or sex education, I can honestly say that I have tutored a student in church, and we do teach sex education at church, it’s called abstinence, or as we like to call it promise keepers.

  7. Bam on May 25th, 2009 12:13 am

    Baccalaureate is defined as a religious ceremony – so whats wrong with it being held at a church? As it should be.

    If I went to Church and tried teaching Algebra, English, or even Sex Education would you allow it, probably not, because its not the proper setting for it.

    As long as they were able to have the ceremony, does it really matter where it was held. It was still a ceremony regardless. Its what you put into that matters.

  8. DONNA on May 24th, 2009 10:11 pm

    I was in attendance at the serevice this morning, and couldn’t be more proud of our students for taking a stand for God. The service was beautiful and the sermon was right on for the time.

    These students should be commended for their efforts. It was apparent that a lot of work had gone into the service. You could really tell that some of the students in the ensemble were really feeling what they were singing. Beautiful job guys!!!!

    If only the school had more students that were willing to stand up for what they believe in…..


  9. Concerned citizen of Santa Rosa County on May 24th, 2009 8:56 pm

    Way to go, Northview! Pray for your friends across the river in Jay at the Bacc. Service next week. Go God Squad!

  10. Concerned citizen of Santa Rosa County on May 24th, 2009 8:55 pm

    Way to go, Northview! Pray for your friends across the river in Jay at their Baccalaurate next week. The service is at 6 pm. It’s time we take back our country! GO GOD SQUAD!

  11. Concerned citizen of Santa Rosa County on May 24th, 2009 3:19 pm

    Please explain the latest injuction stating that teachers can no longer bow their heads or fold their hands because they might be promoting religion. If you think it is going to stop here, I believe that we are all fooling ourselves. Don’t believe me? Call up any teacher in the Santa Rosa County School District and they will tell you that this is the case. This past week, they had to sign a paper stating that they had received this information! The ACLU will not stop until all forms of prayer and the mention of the precious name of Jesus is gone forever from school campuses. I believe that those of you who are so concerned about intolerance of other religions might just make a stand of this were to happen. What will our world be like without any mention of Jesus Christ? Lord help us!

  12. Betty Killam on May 24th, 2009 2:14 pm

    Education has many facets—–one of these—– being able to achieve goals despite opposition or adversity!

    Seniors, your Baccalaureate was an excellent example of this principle.

    Music was awesome, speakers were inspiring, and planning was obvious.

    Congratulations on a job well done!

  13. Briana on May 24th, 2009 12:45 pm

    I don’t think anyone knows how much Luke did behind the scenes. You’re amazing, thank you so much for all your hard work and planning! We heart you!

  14. northview senior on May 24th, 2009 9:37 am

    The service today went really well. It was well organized and everyone did great. It’ll be sad come graduation day.

  15. Patsy Green on May 24th, 2009 8:17 am

    Let’s be clear that God can never be taken out of the schools or anywhere else. What has been said by the US Supreme Court is that agents of the government, including public teachers and administrators, cannot force their religious views on others. If Northview’s principal were Muslim would you want her to have charge of a religious ceremony at the school.
    I taught for 30 years and prayed daily for my students. I felt comfortable answering questions asked by my students. I didn’t feel it was my right to preach to a captive audience.
    Back to the original point. These things were brought on us by overzealous people in the Santa Rosa County schools who were not considerate of the rights of others whose religion was different.

  16. Mom of 2009 graduate on May 23rd, 2009 1:34 pm

    OK, I know 8:00 A.M. is a little early, (the only time that could be arranged that didn’t interfere with other services and events) but I hope parents, community members and especially students will be there to support each other and most of all give thanks and glory to our Lord, the source of all good things. The organizing students have put a lot of time into this, when they didn’t have much to spare.

  17. J. Powe on May 23rd, 2009 11:22 am

    You tell’em Miss Kitty, I agree to the last letter!

    If these people who object to things unknown to them knew what we know, things
    would be a lot different. Only a fool will disreguard what they don’t understand. If you don’t believe this to be true, ask an evolutionest. .

  18. Kitty Day on May 23rd, 2009 8:36 am

    I think it’s a shame that Northview can’t hold Baccalaureate at the school. My son graduated from Northview in 2004, and his Baccalaurate was held in the gym, as all the previous ones were. To my knowledge, no one was psychologically damaged by this fact. It’s time that we put God back His rightful place and tell those who are opposed to us (those being the minority!) to “suck it up and deal with it.” Since God and discipline have been taken out of schools, the education system has deteriorated drastically. It doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out why!