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Honoring local graduates


The church community of Raleigh County and beyond came together Sunday evening to honor the 2018 graduates of Raleigh County Schools and those who have graduated from home schools.

The Raleigh County Baccalaureate Service was offered by local churches to congratulate all the graduating seniors of the county.

According to Pastor Roger Pauley of Cranberry Baptist Church, his church was approached to do one baccalaureate service at one school but through thought and prayer, and through discussion with other ministers, it was decided to host a county-wide event inside the auditorium at Woodrow Wilson High School.

Pauley was joined on stage by Chaplain Jim Mitchell of the West Virginia State Police and offered encouragement to the students.

Mitchell, himself a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, is pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

Speaking to the audience, Mitchell outlined his personal belief in the error of an educational philosophy in which a person’s potential is limited by ability, instead arguing that all things are possible in a person’s belief in God.

“As we look at each other, we’re all different, aren’t we?” Mitchell told the audience. “We all have certain abilities that others may not have and we all have certain limitations that others may not have.”

Mitchell said those limitations do not limit those who choose to serve God.

“I encourage you,” Mitchell said. “I’m very thankful for you and know that sitting here tonight is a tremendous amount of potential.”

Another guest speaker was also no stranger to Raleigh County Schools.

Miller Hall, now on the West Virginia Board of Education, has had a long career in the school system and spoke about it with excitement.

Hall spoke to the students about the journey that they are now on and offered an example that has impacted his own life.

Hall told the crowd that when his children were small they had a small plaque hanging on their wall with a phrase inscribed on it. “There are two things you give your children,” Hall said. “One is roots and the other one is wings.”

The roots that Hall spoke about were the roots of family, church and education. The wings were what the children would do with their roots.

While noting that the time was now for those graduating to spread their wings, Hall told them that the journey would not be easy and that it would not be a straight one.

Hall shared with the students a favorite quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

The state school board member told the gathered students that the only way forward is through hard work.

“You have to equip your mind, body and soul to move forward,” Hall said.

Email:; follow on Twitter @mattcombsRH

Graduating seniors from schools across Raleigh County begin to line up on stage for a huge group photo during the closing moments of a special Baccalaureate religious service Sunday evening inside the Woodrow Wilson High School Auditorium.


Parents and family snap away on their phones as graduating seniors from across Raleigh County gather on stage for a massive group photo during the conclusion of a special Baccalaureate religious service honoring Raleigh County seniors Sunday evening inside the Woodrow Wilson High School Auditorium.

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