Mid-Continent prepares for final graduation

It’s a familiar walk inside the Graves County High School gym for Barry Rucker.

“Each chair represents somebody that’s been there,” he said.

For 14 years and 22 graduations, the Mid-Continent maintenance worker has seen a lot of students sit in the very seats he sets up for graduation.

“You see these kids for four years.  They become friends,” Rucker said.

Like his co-workers, Rucker was sent home last month after Mid-Continent didn’t have enough money to make payroll, but he wasn’t going to let a lack of a paycheck keep him from paying it forward to the students.

“Even if I wouldn’t have been called back, I’m going to say 90 to 95 percent of the people would have came back and donated their time to graduation.  I was prepared to do that,” he said.

Luckily, Rucker is now back on the job with the university finalizing the sale of the McCracken County property on Pecan Drive.  He plans to sit through tomorrow’s graduation ceremony thinking of the friendships made and the next chapter for him, the student body and the university.

“When you shake their hands tomorrow for graduation and congratulate them for whatever they accomplished, that’s going to be the last time you see them.  That’s hard,” Rucker said.

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