Mercer Island graduates celebrate their faith at baccalaureate

Emma Guthrie and Jeremy Chow speak during the baccalaureate ceremony at Herzl-Ner Tamid on Wednesday, June 6, 2012. - Brita Moore/Staff Photo
Emma Guthrie and Jeremy Chow speak during the baccalaureate ceremony at Herzl-Ner Tamid on Wednesday, June 6, 2012.
— image credit: Brita Moore/Staff Photo

The Mercer Island Class of 2012 celebrated an interfaith baccalaureate on June 6 prior to commencement exercises the following night, a community tradition. It took place at Herzl-Ner Tamid Conservative Congregation and celebrated all of the faith backgrounds represented in the class.Lauren Eng, a member of the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, was the main student speaker of the service and worked with the Baccalaureate Committee.

"It's been fun because I get to see people I interact with on an academic basis and how strongly they are rooted in their faith and religious experience," Eng said. "I thought Baccalaureate Committee would be a good experience for interacting with people of my faith background and other diverse ones."

The Baccalaureate Committee meets during the spring semester at the high school and consists of parent, student, faculty and clergy representatives. The theme was "A Golden Future," honoring both the bright future ahead for the graduates and the importance of the Golden Rule — treat others the way you want to be treated.

Students performed musical interludes and prelude and postlude music, including an original composition from a senior, Ian Piper's "Graduation." Former Mercer Island High School principal John Harrison gave a guest address.

This year was the first time the service has been at a synagogue.

"I see this program as a chance for the students to reflect on the deeper meaning of the knowledge they have acquired and to dedicate their future growth to helping others," Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum, a leader at Herzl-Ner Tamid, said. "It places the students’ academic achievement in a spiritual context."

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