St. Charles Herald-Guide

Lack of attendance has impact on DHS Baccalaureate ceremony

Letters to the Editor - June 8, 2009

Dear Editor,
On Tuesday May 19, Destrehan High School held their Baccalaureate ceremony in the auditorium on campus. The word Baccalaureate is defined as a religious message addressed to a graduating class before commencement day. Faculty, students, and parents put a lot of work into this event and it was a nice celebration. The mantra was from Psalm 37:5, “Commit yourself to the Lord ; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”

Destrehan High School will be graduating over 300 students this year.  Unfortunately, only 43 students and their parents showed up for this Baccalaureate event.  At first, I was a little concerned by the numbers, but after the Mistress of Ceremonies began the event I was taken in by the host of speakers.  It wasn’t until after the ceremony when I realized the impact that the lack of attendance had, not just on me, but on others in the audience.

My father, a Korean War Veteran, made a comment that continues to ring in my ear.  His comment was that our War Veterans sacrificed a lot for our ability to assemble for these types of ceremonies, yet few take advantage of this opportunity.  Even the DHS ROTC did not have representation for our country’s national anthem.  We are all concerned about the moral collapse in our kids, in our communities, and in our country, yet we miss out on some of the most basic events that mean so much to our young adults. 

Three religious leaders from three different denominations in our region gave messages from God that will be used to help these graduates succeed. However, I believe the most important message was delivered by the attendance of the faculty, parents, and family members who were in the audience.  I know how busy our lives have become.  Some had very important commitments that kept them from attending the Baccalaureate Ceremony on Tuesday.   However, if we cannot support our kids at a small local religious ceremony, how do we expect to guide them while they are away from home and out of reach? 

The messages from the speakers were geared at keeping our focus on God through all the commotions of graduating, enrolling in higher education, or finding a job.  Whatever career path is chosen, God needs to be present in these choices.  Our family’s support is probably the second most important part of our success.   The lack of attendance for this modest Baccalaureate Ceremony sent a strong message to those in attendance.  Lack of attendance spoke volumes in showing why our country’s moral health is steadily declining.  May God Bless and protect our Graduates at all levels.

Edward Hymel
Destrehan