On Sunday, August 15, Rodney Bradley & Friends Choir conducted their annual Baccalaureate service where close to one-hundred college graduates from Chester dust off their old cap & gowns or borrow one provided at the church to procession into the church and fill the middle pews to serve as inspiration for the recent high school graduates on hand to receive scholarships and gifts from Rodney Bradley & Friends Choir. 

It’s always a spectacle seeing all those flowing gowns with the colorful tassels, stoles, and cords worn by folks from high school age all the way to senior citizens. It demonstrates the continuity of excellence in educational achievement that has occurred in Chester throughout the years. 

Among the most notable appearances at the event were speakers Dr. Craig Parkinson, Superintendent, Chester-Upland School District, Dr. Newton Miller, Capella University, and keynote speaker Dray Clark, Black News Channel, who spoke on ‘Not all Pain is Bad Pain’ and encouraged folks going through hard times to Stop, Step Away, and Steady. 

Interspersed between the speakers were several selections from the magnificent Rodney Bradley & Friends Choir. The event culminated with the awards going to several recent graduates at all levels with a strong emphasis on those coming out of high school. 

If you’re like me, you judge an event by its food and the Baccalaureate 2021 didn’t disappoint as folks gathered afterwards for a delicious mix of hot and cold foods and amazing desserts to munch on or take home to go. 

Once again, the Baccalaureate at Cornerstone proved to be one of the highlights of the year in Chester for not only the spectacle that it is but more importantly for recognizing the achievement of students who defy all odds to get that diploma. 

The only complaint some had were not being able to attend because the church was filled to capacity. What a great problem to have when you’re celebrating educational achievement.