Gilead School Graduates 101 Assistant Markers
THE graduation day for the 101 students of the forty-fifth class of the missionary school of Gilead was March 10, 1968, a day they will never forget. Addressing them, as well as an audience of about 2,000 friends and relatives of the students, the vice-president of the Watch Tower Society identified the students as assistant markers.
Drawing upon the prophecy in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel, which foretold a marking of the foreheads of persons who are “sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done,” F. W. Franz said that the students are marked ones who would be going out to help in marking others. The mark placed on the forehead is not merely an intellectual appreciation of God’s Word of truth, he observed. It is a mark of identification as a Christian. It is evidence of a Christian personality. The vice-president of the Society was only one of several who addressed the forty-fifth class of Gilead that day.
The president of the Watch Tower Society, N. H. Knorr, concluded the several talks of admonition to the students by urging them not to forget the vow they made to do God’s will. “There have been persons who have left God’s organization completely,” he said, “who eventually forgot what they used to believe. They forgot God.”
“Now that school is over,” he said, “it is not the end but the beginning.” He concluded by saying: “You have a marvelous privilege. You must not forget what you have learned and your vow to do God’s will.”
With the conclusion of President Knorr’s admonition to the class, they filed up onto the stage and individually received an envelope from him that contained, in most cases, a diploma. In order to receive a diploma certain scholastic standards had to be met. The envelope also contained a picture of the forty-fifth class and a little money to help with personal expenses. As the last of the graduates headed for their seats, a thunderous applause of congratulation went up from the audience.
A representative of the graduate body then presented to the Society’s president a letter of appreciation, which he read for all to hear. In it the graduates thanked the Society for the fine training that had been given them during the past five months. They stated that they now had an appreciation and concept of Jehovah’s organization that was far beyond their expectations. They also felt that the Bible had now taken on new dimensions for them. With the reading of this statement of appreciation the program for the day did not end. More was to come in the afternoon.
For the enjoyment of all present a number of graduates put on some splendid musical presentations. Among them were lively songs in Spanish by a group of graduates who had studied that language in the school.
Sandwiched among these musical presentations was a thought-provoking skit depicting how several students had handled a demonstration in the classroom showing how the entire book of First Corinthians is beneficial. After a discussion they decided to dramatize a hypothetical scene in the Corinthian congregation of the first century. This showed how Paul’s letter, among other things, handled the matter of divisions in the congregation, how it counseled action against an immoral member of the congregation, and how it gave counsel to those who had unbelieving mates. Skillfully they put across the main point, that principles in the Bible are beneficial to us all.
The highlight of the afternoon’s program was an impressive enactment in costume of scenes from the life of the daughter of a judge in ancient Israel, Judge Jephthah. It was an emotionally moving and faith-inspiring drama, a thoroughly delightful presentation.
With the conclusion of the drama the entire class came up on the stage and sang a touching farewell song. Then the Society’s president, in his closing remarks, admonished them to “continue in this fine work.” His final prayer brought this splendid graduation program of the forty-fifth class of Gilead to an end.