Class of 2017 Graduates!
Saint Joseph Preparatory High School held its fifth annual Commencement Exercises at the Robsham Theater at Boston College on Thursday evening, June 1. Diplomas were conferred to 63 members of the Class of 2017 by Head of School, Thomas E. Nunan, Jr.
The graduates and their families were treated to exemplary speeches from the Salutatorian, Emily Taranto (University of Massachusetts Lowell), and from the Valedictorian, Hayley Leger (Boston University). Mary Murphy, CSJ, former President of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, offered the Invocation and Board Chair Carole Hughes, Executive Director for Planning and Staff Development for the Boston College Division of Student Affairs, extended congratulations to the graduates.
Linda Dorcena Forry, a member of the Massachusetts Senate representing the 1st Suffolk District, was the Commencement Speaker. Sen. Forry, in sharing her experience as a first generation Haitian-American and a product of Catholic education, inspired the graduates to set lofty goals and to follow their dreams. Through hard work, perseverance, and treating others with respect, there are no limits to what the Class of 2017 will achieve.
Seven special awards were also announced:
For Advancing Tradition through Faith and Service: Rebekah Forrest
For Modeling Integrity through Character and Virtue: Mary Forbes & Theresa Sandbrook
For Embracing Excellence through Courage and Compassion: Joadly Duplan
The Faculty Award for Quiet Leadership and Positive Attitude: Dante Salvucci
The Head of School Award for Devoted Scholarship and Authentic Spirituality: Hannah Burke
The Sisters of Saint Joseph Award for Promoting Unity and Forming Community: Sharon King
The Yawkey Foundations Award for Relentless Commitment to Learning: Ruolin Zhang
The Peter & Carolyn Lynch Award for Creativity and Ingenuity in STEAM: Cali Lapenta
And the Phoenix Spirit Award for School Pride in All Endeavors: Phillipe Legagneur
The student speakers were eloquent and shared incredible insights with their classmates. Here are some of the highlights from Emily and Hayley:
Congratulations, we made it! This is not the time to wonder about a chance you missed or a ‘what if I did this instead’ situation. This is a time to celebrate! Just as we were present and active throughout high school, let us continue that attitude not only tonight, but also in all our future endeavors. I cannot think about our class without a quote from Maya Angelou coming to mind that we talked about in AP English Literature. She said, ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel.’ And Class of 2017, we made an impact. I believe this quote embodies the spirit of our class because we will never forget how we have influenced one another and the love we experienced from our community at SJP.
These last four years have not always been easy ones, but we made it through them as a unified class. Together, we laughed, we cried until we learned how to laugh again, we experienced setbacks as well as triumphs, and most importantly, through it all, we supported one another unconditionally. (Emily Taranto ’17, Salutatorian)
Before I start, I want to congratulate everyone on this accomplishment. There were certainly days that made all of us wonder if we could ever make it here, on this stage, walking to receive our high school diplomas. Looking back, it seems as if all those trivial worries were not worries at all, but rather stepping stones that ultimately led to our gathering tonight.
The class of 2017 does not know how to be anything less than exemplary. When we took our first steps through the doors of SJP, we were given the opportunity to shape its traditions and values, and I have to say... we delivered... When I reflect on my time at Saint Joseph Prep, I realized that it was not a single, large event that stood out to me, but rather a collection of smaller memories, and the people with which I shared them. (Hayley Leger ’17, Valedictorian)
Mr. Nunan concluded the evening with a “thank-you note” to the Class of 2017. Citing their remarkable successes at Saint Joseph Prep, he encouraged the graduates to stay involved because “the difference you will make on college campuses and in our country will be, like your legacy here, immeasurable.” He also implored these young men and women “to be instruments of relationship and reconciliation, of healing and hope, of unity and love.” Finally, referencing the poem, Ode to the Joyful Ones by Thomas Lux, Mr. Nunan wished our seniors well. “We are so exceptionally proud of you, so tremendously happy for you, and so deeply grateful to you. May you stay close to your school... and to each other. May you return to us often, in sorrow and in joy, as proud Phoenix alumni, knowing that this is your home... and that we are your family.”
And at the conclusion of the ceremony, in what has become a sacred tradition at Saint Joseph Prep, all members of the faculty lined up to receive the new graduates, exchanging hand-shakes and hugs as these elated, exuberant scholars exited the theater.
To watch the entire Commencement program on our website, click here.