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High school seniors set to graduate

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By James Roberts

This year, 271 students will graduate from Campbellsville Independent and Taylor County High schools in ceremonies a week apart. In the past, the ceremonies were usually hosted just an hour apart.

Taylor County's school year went a week longer than Campbellsville Schools, which also necessitated two Project Graduation events.

Campbellsville High's graduation kicks things off tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the school's Hamilton Auditorium. CHS will graduate 66 students this year, the same number as last year.

CHS teacher Kevin Rafferty, who is helping organize the graduation ceremony, said that while class sizes have been small the last two years, the school will graduate around 80 students next year. In 2006, 81 CHS students received diplomas.

Students are asked to show up early tomorrow evening.

"We have a tradition," Rafferty said. "We always meet about 30 minutes before the ceremony on the high school steps for one last class photo."

During the ceremony, Rafferty said, the valedictorian and salutatorian will speak. However, on Monday, final grades had not been turned in, Rafferty said. The valedictorian and salutatorians were expected to be named today.

Class awards were handed out during the school's class night last Friday. The CHS baccalaureate service was Sunday at First Baptist Church. Pastor Daniel Shull was the guest speaker.

Campbellsville High's four-hour Project Graduation begins at 10 p.m. in the school's gymnasium, according to Kay Cox, one of the organizers of the event.

Project Graduation is open exclusively to those who have just graduated from CHS.

During the night, graduates participate in various games to earn play money they will use to bid on prizes at the end of the night. TVs, laptops, exercise equipment and gift cards are among the items to be auctioned.

Cox said the decision was made to split the celebrations because Campbellsville students didn't want to wait a week after their graduation and Taylor students didn't want to attend Project Graduation a week before they graduated.

Splitting the celebrations did cause some concern, according to John "Bam" Carney, Taylor County High School teacher and co-organizer of that school's Project Graduation, because local businesses would be asked to donate twice.

"We set a goal of $10,000 and we raised $11,500," Carney said. "There was some concern, but everything worked out."

Cox said Campbellsville's efforts were successful as well.

"We've had a wonderful response from everybody."

On May 30, Taylor County High will graduate 205 students, its largest class in recent years. Last year, 166 students graduated from TCHS, while 192 graduated in 2006.

Graduation begins at 7:30 p.m. in the high school's gym. Students are asked to arrive by 6:45 p.m., according to TCHS business teacher DiAnne Harris. Harris is helping organize the graduation ceremony.

Taylor Cox, the son of Ben and Regina Cox, is the valedictorian. A.J. Russell, the daughter of Vic and Dana Russell and Drenda Mills, is the salutatorian.

Senior members of the TCHS Choir will perform during the ceremony.

James A. Davis, a 1964 TCHS graduate who holds several patents, is the guest speaker. Davis, who now lives in Roswell, Ga., helped develop night vision technology, numerous skin and hair products as well as a product that helps prevent diaper rash.

The school's baccalaureate service is at 7:30 p.m. on May 28 at Campbellsville Baptist Church. Class night is the following evening at 7:30 at the school.

After graduation, Taylor County's Project Graduation begins at 10:30 at the school and is only open to those who have just graduated from TCHS. The doors close at 11:30 and the event will last until 3 a.m. Carney said the event would feature the same games and prizes as previous years.

- Staff Writer James Roberts can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 226 or by e-mail at writer@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.