Baccalaureate May 16, Graduation May 19

Chillicothe High School seniors have begun preparations for one of the biggest moments of their high school careers.
Graduation at CHS is just around the corner, and the next week and a half will be filled with activities, luncheons and rehearsals for senior Hornets. Seniors obtained their numbers for the graduation march today (Wednesday), as well as information regarding next week's baccalaureate and commencement services. Tomorrow, seniors will pick up their caps and gowns.
The fun really begins Friday with the annual Senior Day festivities. Senior mothers will start the morning with a breakfast at the Chillicothe United Methodist Church.
"The breakfast is an annual event," said Mary Pat Whiteside, Senior Class Sponsor and CHS Communication Arts Instructor. "The mothers have met two times previously, and they have worked up a nice menu of breakfast casseroles, muffins and juices. It'll be a really nice breakfast."
In addition to stuffing the stomachs of the students, the breakfast serves as a way for a group of seniors to honor their fellow classmates.
"The Senior Executive Committee has put together a 26-minute video of events throughout the year," Whiteside explained. "They've included all the seniors in that video."
The breakfast will be followed by the Senior Day assembly at 12:30 p.m. Whiteside said this is an amazing event of recognition and celebration of senior class achievements.
"We have a very generous community who has put many, many local scholarships in place," Whiteside said. "Students will be recognized for their academic achievements in terms of their scholarships they have received. We will also be recognizing scholarships they have been granted from their individual colleges where they've been accepted."
The Senior Day Assembly also plays host to a long standing tradition involving the senior class officers.
"The end of the assembly is the handing down of the senior hat and garter, and the handing down of the senior class offices to the incoming officers," Whiteside explained.
The fun continues Thursday, May 16, with help from the Chillicothe Grand 6 movie theater and Chillicothe Hy-Vee.
"(The seniors) won the class competition this year for their involvement throughout the year," Whiteside said. "In the morning, we will all walk over to the movie theater. They'll start those movies around 8:30. When the movies are over, they're coming back to the PAC parking lot. We're actually having Hy-Vee cook us some hamburgers and hot dogs. We will also be taking our official senior class picture in cap and gown at that time."
After the lunch, seniors will meet for baccalaureate rehearsal in the Gary Dickinson PAC at 11:30 a.m. The baccalaureate service will be held in the PAC later that evening at 7 p.m. Hosted by the area's ministerial alliance, the service will include invocation by Pastor Alan Brock of Calvary Baptist Church, message by Youth Pastor Aaron Douglas of Cornerstone Church and benediction by Pastor Tommy Sandefer of Soul's Harbor Church of God.
The service will also include performances and presentations by CHS seniors. Anna Pitchford, accompanied by Carolyn Johnson, will perform a clarinet solo of Mozart's "Clarinet Concerto Adagio." Shelby Bush will read a passage of scripture, and the Senior Choraliers will perform Carl Strommen's "The Road Less Traveled."
Commencement services will serve as the seniors' last hurrah at CHS. Seniors will meet at 9 a.m. Friday, May 17, at the high school for commencement rehearsal. Commencement is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, May 19, at the CHS gym.
"The building will open at 1:30 p.m. so people can occupy their seats," Whiteside explained. "We don't allow people to save seats. They know it's first-come-first-serve."
Whiteside said this senior class has been especially instrumental in the strength of the school environment over the past two years.
"This has just been a great senior class," Whiteside said. "They've been very energetic, enthusiastic kids who have been wonderful class leaders and supporters of CHS. Whenever we as faculty or administration needed leadership, we really relied on the seniors."