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Graduation Countdown

The Screven County High School graduation ceremonies routinely are efficient — sometimes taking just an hour, including the speeches by some of the seniors.
Even so, it may take a little longer Friday night when the members of the Class of 2009 get ready to receive their diplomas.
At least 215 are expected to graduate in front of the crowd at Kelly Memorial Stadium.
“They were a large group all the way through and they are still a large group,” said SCHS principal Brett Warren. “Once they leave, we will start seeing our numbers going down to the 800s.
“The halls won’t be as crowded without them,” Warren said.
The principal said the graduating class has a number of students who will head to major universities; others on their way to local post-secondary institutions; and others who have chosen a career in the military.
The graduation ceremony begins at 8 p.m.
But the could be changed if the weather has anything to do with it.
Rain Friday night might push the ceremony into Saturday morning.
At press time, isolated thunderstorms were forecast for the morning hours Friday, but the skies were expected to be mostly clear by nighttime.
“It is questionable. Very questionable,” Warren said of Friday night’s forecast.
In recent years, the school has been able avoid a shift to Saturday.
“We’ve had a time when we had to blow off the bleachers,” Warren said of how crews had to remove as much rain water as they could before the graduation crowds arrived.
“We’ve dodged some bullets,” he said.
Tickets are not necessary to attend the graduation if it is in the football stadium, but would change if the ceremony is moved to the auditorium.
Warren said each graduating senior would be alloted four tickets for family and friends. The auditorium is not legally allowed to have an exceessive number of people in the building.
Seniors participated in the baccalaureate service at the First United Methodist Church May 17.
Allan Jones, minister of youth at the First Baptist Church, gave the “charge” to the students.
“Just like a baby bird is ready to leave the nest it is time to fly. Now is time for you to fly,” Jones said.
It will not be easy.
“Life is going to knock you on your backside,” he said. “People are going to take advantage of you.”
Jones told the students to keep their eyes on the prize and “enjoy the ride.”
Rev. C. Mike Benson said the Lord has given each of the graduates talents. They must go into the world and use those talents.
“Do you know how special you are?” Benson said. “He made you on purpose. He gave us abilities and he gave you talents that nobody else has.
“Let your life reflect who you really are in life,” he said.
Eric Boddiford welcomed the audience to the baccalaureate.
Sarah Grace Newton delivered the opening prayer.
Zachary Parker led the responsive reading from Psalm 23. Jim Freeman read the scripture from Colossians 3:13-17.
The special music was performed by senior Worth Zeagler and his sister Missy.
LaKisha Cooper read the scripture 2 Timothy 2:11-15.
Ty-ria Jenkins read a poem and Grant Triplett performed the benediction.