Savannah Viars, Staff Writer

The senior activities schedule is packed, and most of the activities are self explanatory. The one questionable event is probably Baccalaureate. The only thing most people know about it is the fact it takes place at a church, which is sad, because it’s actually very meaningful.

Let me explain. Baccalaureate is a centuries-old religious tradition that started in England, and it is believed to have originated specifically at Oxford University. It was a ceremony to celebrate the lives of bachelors dedicated to wisdom and learning. At the ceremony, each bachelor was required to present a sermon in Latin. Because the first universities in America were also religious, the tradition easily carried over.

Now, however, because we must have separation between church and state, attendance to the ceremony is not required. In America today, we have made it a nondenominational and more laid-back ceremony held just a few days before graduation. For us, Baccalaureate is mainly a more intimate and quieter opportunity to reflect on this big step in life. It’s almost like a preparation for graduation. Typically, community leaders, students, and faculty members speak and deliver messages and advice about life, and it also includes student led music.

So, as you can see, Baccalaureate isn’t just a “church thing” even though there will be sermons and a church. It’s really another opportunity for the graduating class to come together and celebrate how far they have come, how far they will go, and spend a few last moments together. If you would like to attend the HHS Baccalaureate service, make sure to be at Burning Bush Baptist Church as 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 17.