A recent evening of pomp and circumstance marked a major milestone for a special group of seniors in Metter.

Attired in full academic regalia – caps, gowns, tassels adorned with a 2016 emblem – were 13 seniors, ages ranging from 65 to 85 years, marching to the tune of the graduation song in a commencement ceremony at the Candler County Concerted Services Center in Metter.

Bobbie Coursey, Lealer Davis, Elizabeth and Perry Davis, Patricia Dekle, Alma Griffin, Edith Henry, Bettie and Robert Hutchins, Iris Merritt, Mary Mincey, Earlene and Frank Smith, Everett and Mary Simerson were the proud graduates who marked successful completion of Self-Worth 101 Class and received certificates of achievement in a ceremony likened to high school graduation.

The idea of a graduation ceremony upon completion of the class was inspired by Concerted Services senior Ms. (Lealer) Davis roughly two years ago, according to Candler Concerted Services Director Mamie Dekle. Concerted Services Experience Works Volunteer Mary Simmons who coordinated the graduation event stated that “Ms. Davis had never graduated from high school and wanted so much to see herself in a cap and gown walking down the aisle of a graduation ceremony. She said this was priority before her final days in life.”

Minister Bobby Walthour, of The Gathering Place Ministries, of Metter, gave the commencement address to the graduates in the presence of a host of roughly 60 family and friends in attendance to celebrate the graduates. The minister stated in his address that he wishes to be a part of the Candler County Concerted Services program when he comes of age as he recounted the numerous fun and educational activities the group of 43 seniors serviced by the program is offered throughout the year. The Candler Concerted Services team also includes Robert Sikes, transport van driver.


Other commencement program participants included Minster Lawrence Jarrell, of Restoration Worship Center in Metter, who offered the opening prayer; Rebecca Crowe, of Candler Concerted Services; and special guests Jim Dekle and Lena Braziel.

Event contributors include decorators Latasha Hall and Jamie Thomas; and music arranger Lysander Meridy. Community contributors to the Friday evening event include Herff Jones, donor of graduation gowns and tassels; and Dot Cowart and Johnnie Lou Flynt, donors of Flower Basket decorated arch. Food was donated by the following: Zaxby’s, KFC, Green Tea, Pizza Hut, and Bi-Lo.

Self-Worth 101 is a six week workshop comprised of health education and spirituality courses. The courses were presented by health educators Eddis Dunan and Sharon Hale, along with Minister Walthour.