Lehighton Interfaith Fellowship (LIFE) recently sponsored the baccalaureate service for students graduating from Lehighton Area High School at Zion United Church of Christ. Baccalaureate is a farewell address delivered to a graduating class in the form of a sermon.
"For five years, I have been meeting with the senior class leadership as they plan for this special event," said the Rev. Allen Heckman, pastor of Zion United Church of Christ. "And every year, I am more impressed with the caliber of young adults stepping into the uncertainties of our world today."
For this year's baccalaureate service, Pastor Heckman has been working since February with the LAHS Class of 2013 officers Brandon Everett, president; Sage Terembula, vice president; Elyse Kistler, secretary; and Jurnee Strawser, treasurer.
"Although everyone said it would, I never thought this time would come so fast," remarked Terembula. "Many of us are anticipating to move on in our journey and experience greater things. Meanwhile, some of us are unsure how to feel or we are just afraid of what is to come in the future."
Sharing her thoughts on the future with her fellow graduating classmates, Terembula said, "Money is not the only thing that will be important in our future. The most important things in life will be happiness, the people you spend it with, and the memories you make.
"We aren't guaranteed an allotted time on Earth. So, as things come our way, we have to really enjoy them and take them for all they're worth," she summed up. "As we move on to the next step, be mindful of making the most of everyday."
In her remarks, Sarah Kistler advised her classmates that it is a good thing to make mistakes.
"If we don't make mistakes, we won't learn," said Kistler.
Haley Coleman expressed to her fellow graduates how special it is to have good friends and sisters to support her in all that it takes to go through high school. She concluded that no matter where she and her fellow class members go, "We will always be 'Indians.'"
Rev. Kenneth Ogden, pastor of People's EC Church in Weissport, reflected that the school colors of Lehighton Area School District maroon and white mean sacrifice, purity and simplicity.
"It is everyone's calling to make sacrifices so we can help those who need our help."
Also participating in the baccalaureate service was the Rev. Chris deForest, pastor of St. John's Mahoning Evangelical Lutheran Church. Kaitlyn Bandholz led the opening prayer. Readers of scripture included Jo deForest, Alden Everett, Alex Ogden, Tia Rex and Darrin Wagner.
Under the direction of David Perkins, LAHS Chorus helped to provide the music for the service. Assisting with the musical accompaniment were Emily Cerimele, Avery Frohnheiser, Keturah Hinkle, Elyse Kistler and Ellen Perkins.
Brandon Everett, Holly Niehoff, Elizabeth Reichard, Alex Rubin, and Jurnee Strawser served as ushers for baccalaureate. The bulletin was designed by Emily Oldt.
"Working with leaders of the class assures me that there is hope for our world. We are blessed to have some outstanding young people walking out of our high school doors into the future," concluded Pastor Heckman. "These young people will be more than able to respond to the things to come and make our world better for all of us."