They walked in tandem, each of the ninety three students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.
Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and moms freely brushed away tears. This class would not pray during the commencements, not by choice but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it.
The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.
The speeches were nice, but they were routine until the final speech received a standing ovation. A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened. All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED!
The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, "GOD BLESS YOU, each and every one of you!" And he walked off stage.
The audience exploded into applause. The graduating class found a unique way to invoke God's blessing on their future with or without the court's approval.
This took place on May 20, 2001, during the commencement exercises at Washington Community High School in Washington, Illinois. The valedictorian's family brought suit to prevent the inclusion of the invocation and benediction traditionally given at the school's commencement ceremony. The suit was decided in their favor when, three days before the ceremony, the court handed down a temporary injunction barring the inclusion of the prayers on the basis of their having been deemed "school sponsored" (and thereby an unconstitutional violation of the first amendment's "establishment clause").
Isn't this a wonderful story? There is always a way to acknowledge God! Tell your friends and GOD BLESS YOU!!!!