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ECISD Student Leaders Include Prayer in Graduation

Student leaders choose to go ahead with a prayer in the opening and closing statements of Permian and Odessa High's graduations.
ODESSA, TX, (Local Big 2 News) - To pray or not to pray. It was a question on a lot of people's mind during this weekend's graduation ceremonies for Permian and Odessa High Schools.

"During school functions all throughout my education, we always said a prayer," said Odessa High Senior Dominique Avila, who chose to include prayer in her opening statement.

A simple district policy became a topic of intense scrutiny leading up to Odessa High's graduation. Saturday night, it became the students turn to choose, and the students chose prayer.

"I was glad that the opening and closing statements included a prayer. I very much understand why it could not be called an invocation and benediciton," Valedictorian Ryan Morton said after receiving his diploma.

"I know all of my classmates do not believe in the same beliefs as my beliefs," says Avila.

Avila delivered the opening statement, and I learned she made an extra effort to accomodate all students beliefs, which meant they could pray to whoever they wanted, or not pray at all.

"I tried to ask people to reflect, as I said the prayer," explained Avila.

Morton tells me he couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

"We were able to follow school policy and pray at the same time, so it just, it worked out," he says.

With distractions over school policy in the rear view mirror, the accomplishments of students became the focal point.

"It's a night you'll never forget, and it still doesn't seem real, it probably won't until I go to college," said Morton with a smile.
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