An annual tradition carried forward albeit a little differently this year.

Taylor High School presented a virtual baccalaureate service May 17. A video of the ceremony was posted on the Taylor ISD Facebook page and the district’s YouTube channel, Taylor ISD Videos. First Baptist Church hosted the ceremony.

Senior class president Katie Kurtin opened the service. The president acknowledged the uniqueness of this year’s service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know this is not the way any of us anticipated celebrating this occasion or even spending the rest of our school year,” said Kurtin, “but I’m hoping that we’re able to see God’s grace through the situation and realize that even though we’re apart, we’re still all in this together. I know we’ll come out of this stronger than when we began.”

Jaimee Adame then read scripture, Proverb 16:3, before Jimmy McNeal and Jarryd Foreman sang songs, “Living Hope” and “Waymaker.” McNeal and Foreman are worship leaders at The Austin Stone Church.

Damaris Taylor presented the sermon and a prayer. He is the former youth minister at First Baptist Church in Taylor and is currently with The Austin Stone Church.

“You’re at a transition point. You are closing one 12-year long chapter and are about to kick off a brand new chapter. It’s exciting, and I hope that you are proud of achieving such a feat as graduating from high school,” said Taylor. “I know it hasn’t been easy, especially these last two months, but God has brought you through to this moment.

Aaron Barta, youth minister at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Taylor, closed the service with a song and a prayer. He spoke to students about remembering God and about forgiving and forgiveness. The youth minister also expanded on something students have to do that adults aren’t perfect at either.

“We’re learning how to do it,” said Barta, “is how to navigate through anxieties, disappointments and all those things, because we will have them.”

To view the baccalaureate service, visit

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