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Pomp and Circumstance: Agape holds commencement exercises for youth and elderly

Agape Community Economic Development, Inc. held graduation ceremonies on Sunday at Beloved Apostolic Church.

A group of six elderly women received certificates in two different classes. Ten kids between the ages of 10 and 18 received certificates in the Elocution class.

Elizabeth Coleman, Myrtlene J. Hall, Fannie Smith, Katherine Craig, Annie Shields and Carolyn Steele each received certificates in health and nutrition and basic computer classes.

Hall, the only 90-year-old in the group, was proud of herself.

“I feel wonderful and great,” Hall said. “It makes me happy completing something like this at my age.”

“It’s a blessing from the Lord,” the 74-year-old Craig said.

Elocution Valedictorian Breanna Johnson, a seventh-grader at R.B. Hudson Middle School, admitted she got off to a slow start on day one.

“When I took the class, I never heard of the word elocution,” Johnson said. “When I saw there would be homework, I didn’t want to come back. It’s summertime and who wants to do homework during the summer? I didn’t want to be here. But I was respectful and came back.”

Elocution Salutatorian Lanisha McDowell will bring the elocution experience to her sophomore year at Selma High School.

“I learned the way we speak is how others think of us,” McDowell said. “They don’t think of us as being smart. Now, I’m able to speak correctly.”

Agape Vice President Cora Rankin praised both groups, especially the elderly class.

“You’re all in your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, but you’re still learning,” Rankin said. “Anything is possible if you put your minds to it. Agape gives opportunity to learn new skills and keep learning.”

In his closing remarks, Agape CEO Dr. Johnny Cunningham said salvation and education are two key components in life. He also acknowledged instructors Mary Watson, Quenisha Polintz, volunteer Michael Polnitz, and board of directors Mitchell Smith, Doris Polnitz and Rankin for their hard work.

“If you’re going to go anywhere in this world, you have to articulate,” Cunningham said. “If you can’t articulate correctly, you’ll be misunderstood. You should take every opportunity to learn and educate yourselves. Take care of yourself and learn how to take care of your body.”