Saturday, June 08, 2024

Bulls Gap Middle School Eighth Grade Graduation: Congratulations, Lilliana! (published 6-8-2024; article #476)


On Wednesday, May 22, while walking toward an entrance to the Bulls Gap School, I realized that this year marks the semicentennial anniversary of my eighth grade graduation. Well, we didn't have an eighth grade graduation ceremony, but it was fifty years ago in May 1974, two months before my 14th birthday.

This first article today honors Lilliana! She is the younger daughter of my youngest brother and his wife. This 124th entry under the family topic section and 102nd entry under the heritage section affirms that, with the right support, new generations of family members continue the godliness of family heritage.

Congratulations, Lilliana!

Congratulations, Lilliana! My wife and I love you, and we are proud of you!

The Middle School Honors Day and Eight Grade Graduation ceremony started at 8:15 AM. The distance from our house to the school building is 68.5 miles. I forgot about the local morning rush hour traffic! I should have left the house 30 minutes earlier. At 8:40 AM, my 2006 Frontier was finally able to rest in the parking space that I found. I was 25 minutes late.

As I was entering the building, I could hear Lilliana's name called. The claps and cheers indicated that she was walking to the stage. Once inside the gymnasium, I realized that she had already walked off the stage. I did find her mother and older sister. My brother could not take time off from work to attend.

After the ceremony concluded, visiting with my sister-in-law and our two nieces was memorable. After their mother left to go to work, our nieces and I visited Lilliana's classroom. I took the following photograph of our nieces at 9:12 AM. The welcome sign is beside the classroom entrance.

Lilliana is on the left. She is holding her diploma and awards. In a graduating class of 56 students, Lilliana was the valedictorian. Also, she won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in sports. During football season last fall, she was the Homecoming Queen. That is a trifecta of first-place finishes!

Our nieces and I left the building and enjoyed a long conversation on topics that included accomplishments, family heritage, future plans, and a focus on God. Well, I tossed in a sufficient amount of humor, which they returned in kind! They, with their other plans, and I, with mine, went our separate ways, but it was a great and memorable experience at Lilliana's eighth grade graduation!

As I said before, I will say again, “Congratulations, Lilliana! My wife and I love you, and we are proud of you!” As a young Christian lady, your focus and direction are on the right path. We look forward to seeing what God has in store for the rest of your life!

I took the following photograph at 10:27 AM, just as my ol' truck and I were leaving.

As the years go by, Lilliana will have good memories of her middle school years in this building. I still remember my grade school days at Rogersville City School (grades 1-2) and Hawkins County Elementary School (grades 3-8). The county school wasn't built until my 3rd-grade year.

Homeplace Visit

After a brief visit to The Rogersville Review, I arrived at the homeplace at 11:14 AM and stayed until 1:57 PM. The neighbor across the road and other men were gathered under his large cedar tree. I joined the conversation. Interestingly, I became reacquainted with a man, who graduated high school a year before me. His cousin Rex and I graduated high school together, forty-six years ago. Rex's younger brother was there, and I took down Rex's phone number. A couple of days later, Rex and I spoke pleasantly by phone. We hope to see each other in July, around Independence Day.

I took four photographs while at the homeplace. Two are included below.

The above photograph, taken at 1:47 PM, shows my partially successful attempt to upright Papaw and Granny Wood's grapevine. Another trip is planned, to reconstruct the supports and truly upright the grapevine. It's a work in progress. Dad set up the original supports in 1974.

Four minutes later, I took the above photograph. The view looks southwest. Several more trips are planned, to do some trimming and branch cutting.


With the right support, new generations of family members continue the godliness of family heritage. In 1974, my father and mother transplanted a section of Papaw and Granny Wood's grapevine, from their home in Bean Station to where it still grows today. The six of us (Mom, Dad, three brothers, and I) moved into the homeplace in June 1974, just after my eight grade “graduation” and before my 14th birthday. The grapevine has toppled several times over the years. It has been uprighted and kept alive. It still bears grapes.

Lilliana, life may topple you at times, as it does to everyone. Rooted firmly in God and in the godliness of family heritage, you will upright yourself when toppled and continue on the right path that you have chosen as a Christian. My wife and I look forward to seeing how you continue to grow! We love you, and we are proud of you! You will bear much spiritual fruit for Christ and his kingdom.

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