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Graduation redux: Class of 1987 will try it again

The congratulatory notice published in the newspaper after graduation was rained out in 1987.Patricia Hughes Harris of Sanderson and other Baker County High School graduates from the Class of 1987 missed one of the seminal moments in young adulthood.

Due to a bad storm, their graduation ceremony was cut short and they never walked across the stage at Memorial Stadium to receive their high school diplomas as friends and family cheered and congratulated them for the accomplishment.

“We lived nearby in Macclenny, so we walked to graduation,” recalled Ms. Harris, 43, who was joined by her mother and father that day. “But when it came time to walk, it started flooding. Severe flooding. We had to swim home.”

The most disappointing part, she said, was that her mother, who had been so adamant  about Ms. Harris finishing school, never got to the witness the experience. For months afterward, Ms. Harris’ mom lobbied school officials, to no avail, to reschedule the ceremony.

“Nobody cared for years that the Class of 87 never had their graduation,” she said.

Now, 25 years later, it’s happening.

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Kites to the skies at Westside Elementary

First grader Zachary Gainey eyes his shark kite. Also pictured in the background is Savannah Smallwood.Plenty of colorful kites depicting lady bugs, butterflies, sharks and Spiderman, to name a few, flew through the air at Westside Elementary School in Glen St. Mary on March 16.

With little wind to lend a hand, children, including  third grader Lillia Munn above, sought out plenty of running room to dash back and forth in hopes of keeping their kites aloft.

A number of parents joined the fun, often untangling kites strings, keeping them out of trees or otherwise assisting with the endeavor. Groups of students took turns occupying the open field on the campus’ east side for the annual outdoor event.

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Damp start to little league softball

The Baker County Little League’s softball teams started play the evening of March 23 under cloudy skies following a brief opening ceremony, which was hastened by showers, at the twin fields on N. 6th St.

League officials said a prayer and introduced all sixteen teams in this year’s league before sponsor Larry Burkins of Burkins Chevrolet threw out the first pitch.

The league is divided into five age divisions ranging from 4-6 for pee wee and 13-16 for seniors.

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William Baker, 68 of Glen St. Mary

William “Bill” Edward Baker Jr., 68, of Glen St. Mary died March 24, 2012. He was born in Jacksonville to the late William Edward Baker Sr. and Thelma Smith Baker on December 10, 1943. He was a 1961 graduate of Paxon High School and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Jacksonville University in 1968.

Mr. Baker resided in Baker County since 1973 after moving from Jacksonville. He was a member of Unity Church for Creative Living in Jacksonville and of the Baker County Amateur H.A.M. Radio Operators, call sign K4gns. Bill worked for Duval County schools from 1968-1985 and then the Baker County school system from 1985-1996 retiring as assistant superintendent. At the time of his death, he was a consultant to school systems throughout Florida, mentoring administrators and faculty. Bill loved playing the guitar, hiking and gardening, and was an avid Atlanta Braves fan. 

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