Church allows Riverside 6th graders to celebrate end of year

6th grader receiving a "diploma" from Rep. Homer Lenderman
6th grader receiving a "diploma" from Rep. Homer Lenderman

CARAWAY, AR (KAIT) - Their graduation was canceled after a parent complained about prayer during the ceremony, but Thursday night, the 6th graders from Riverside were able to celebrate the end of the school year at a local church.

It didn't take long for Caraway United Methodist to fill up on a Thursday night.

"We are blown away, it was absolutely awesome," Holly Woody told Region 8 News. Not only is she a member of Caraway United Methodist Church, she was also there to see her niece celebrate completing 6th grade.

"The children wanted to show their love for Christ," Woody said. "This is the first time that they weren't able to do that in a school setting."

The celebration was instead, held at a local church.

"Of course, here at the church, we can have prayer," Caraway United Methodist Pastor, Doug Criss said. "There's so many godly people that prayer is so important to our lives. We don't think of doing things and leaving God out in any way, form or fashion."

"They love the Lord and they have earned this and we are truly proud of them," Donna Boatman said. Her 6th grade son took part in the celebration. Something she said her other children have taken part in before in a school setting.

"We've always had it. I've had a son and two daughters that have had their graduations and they deserved it and I'm proud that the community came together and we were able to still do it."

So, with family, friends and community members in attendance, the children were able to celebrate the end of the year and do so with prayer.

"Nothing's gonna stop us," Boatman said. "We're stronger today than we were yesterday."

There is no word yet on whether the 6th graders will be able to have graduation at the school next year.

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