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Ceremony in Black

Lainey S. Cronk
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For an event that includes a large group of people dressed in black, solemn organ music and a carefully prescribed traditional ceremony, commencement certainly produces an astonishing supply of enthusiasm! This year, as usual, corn tortillas flew into the air between solemnities, and here and there beach balls soared above the black-capped heads.

It’s not surprising that commencement should be thick with formalities; certainly, it marks impressive academic achievements and years of dedicated work that will (hopefully) mark these individuals as thinking, well-educated citizens. Yet neither is it surprising that commencement should be so full of joyous excitement; after all, these graduates have finally made it through some of the most intense and amazing years of their lives and are at last being recognized for all that they poured into their college experience.

The class of ’05 was an active class with a spirited and dedicated group of leaders and officers. Class president Joshua Okallo reflected some of this sense of teamwork and involvement as he addressed the class in a frank, good-natured style—including a jesting reprimand to those who ate all the cafeteria’s chocolate chip cookies before he got any! A group of singers from the senior class also presented special music, and Karl Haffner, author, speaker and senior pastor of the Walla Walla College Church, gave an address titled “Join the Revolution for Goodness’ Sake.”

And, after all, it wasn’t just the 338 graduates who were excited and relieved: one proud mom, walking through the grove before the program in a state of euphoria, was heard to say, “I feel like I’m graduating, I’m so happy!”

Note: This is an archived article and does not necessarily represent current issues at Pacific Union College.