Virginia Intermont holds final graduation ceremony
Updated On: May 04 2014 07:48:00 PM CDT
It was a bittersweet afternoon for the class of 2014, as they filed into the school's last graduation ceremony.
"I really don't think it's hit me yet," said graduate Morgan Rich. "I think once I walk across the state the waterworks will start."
Rich gave the student address at graduation.
The students listened as faculty president, Dr. Robert Rainwater, announced in his invocation that the school will close.
"Before we celebrate the great happiness of this graduation, let us acknowledge and express our feelings of sorrow and grief that VI days are over," Rainwater said.
He asked the students to say good-bye after weeks of uncertainty about the school's future.
"Intermont could've survived, things could've worked out otherwise, but we followed our leadership and it led to complete institutional failure," Rainwater said.
The school's difficulties had escalated leading up to the ceremony.
Graduate Brandon Reece told us it's cast a dark shadow over their celebration.
"It makes it a lot tougher," he said. "I mean its going to be a lot of congratulations but a lot of good-byes, seeing people that I've worked hard alongside of that aren't going to share this day, that are going to go somewhere else."
He told us no matter where they end up one thing will remain the same.
"We're VI strong always," said Reece. "We'll fly the black and gold for the rest of our lives."
Faculty member Mary Lou Smith told us the students have remained strong throughout the turmoil.
They're so dedicated to VI," she said. "I haven't heard a student complain. I mean it's mostly tears and fun things they've done because of all the friendships they've made here.
Smith has been with the school for 59 years, two of those were as a student and the rest were as a faculty member.
She told us this is the end of an era.
"What can I do? What can I say? Except it’s been good, it’s been great, it’s been a lot of my life," said Smith.
The school's president Clorisa Phillips welcomed the graduates but did not speak about the school's future.
We have not received official word from the school about what will happen next.
Copyright © 2014 by WCYB. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.