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The finger of blame points at me

Oops…my bad.

Another Graduation Edition has come and gone in the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. As seems customary with each one of these annual special editions, there is always a goof.

I could take the easy way out and point to the fact that the final few pages of this special edition were composed, by yours truly, and sent to the press on Friday the 13th. It was also printed on that day, one deemed as cursed by those who believe in superstitions.

But, alas, there was no Friday the 13th curse on our annual salute to Roanoke-Chowan area graduates. There was no black cat to crossed my path on my way to work last Friday morning. I didn’t walk under any ladders nor did I step on any cracks.

The mistake in this year’s special edition was strictly human error. I was the human and I made the error.

There’s no excuse I can offer to explain why I omitted the Class of 2008 at Bethel Christian Academy. One of my reporters, Jennipher Dickens, snapped their photo a couple of weeks back. I downloaded the photo in the Graduation-08 folder on my desktop, placing it in a folder clearly marked BACA (a name I still refer to the school as…dating back to when they were called Bethel Assembly Christian Academy).

Jennipher even gave me a listing of the names of their graduates. I typed the cutline and placed it in the BACA folder.

The reason neither the Bethel photo nor the cutline identifying those graduates didn’t make it into this year’s special edition was because of an oversight on my part.

What made things even worse is I made sure that Bethel’s name was included on the front page listing of schools featured inside the special edition. Their name is clearly on the front, but their photo isn’t to be found on the inside pages.

I was alerted to my mistake late Sunday afternoon. Upon returning from Lake Gaston with my family (we go there every Father’s Day for a cookout with my wife’s sister and her family), I had a phone message left my one of my next door neighbors. I returned Thelma Harrell’s call where I was informed of the omission. Her granddaughter was among the Class of 2008 at Bethel and she, as a proud grandmother, wanted to see her loved one featured among the other graduates.

I deeply regret the mistake and offer an apology to the Bethel graduates, their parents, family members and other students/staff at the Askewville-based school. I never intended to leave you folks out of the graduation edition. You are just as important to this newspaper as any of the schools in our four-county coverage area.

There are no magic words to say to make-up for the mistake. We cannot afford to print the entire 12-page section again, one that was inserted into Saturday’s edition. The only recourse I can offer is to publish the Bethel graduates and the accompanying cutline in today’s edition (see page 3A).

Cal Bryant serves as Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He can be reached at 332-7207 or by e-mail at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com.