‘Dream anything,’ SJV grads hear during graduation
By Thomas Wiedmann | CorrespondentThe St. John Vianney High School Class of 2018 was bid a fond farewell from staff and faculty June 2, as the seniors and school community delighted in a commencement ceremony of celebration, guidance and prayer.
Keynote speaker Scott Fitzgerald, an alumnus of the Holmdel school, praised the class’ accomplishments and acknowledged their education in faith and character, which he advised the students to carry forward in life.
“Remember this day, and cherish this moment always. Build on that foundation you’ve been given – knowledge, commitment, involvement,” Fitzgerald said. “Live your life with compassion, integrity and kindness. Enjoy your journey discovering God’s plan for you.”
Staff, parents and administrators, including JoAnne Tier, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, gathered in Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, for the commencement. Days earlier, the graduates were also recognized during a Baccalaureate Mass celebrated in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, by Father John Michael Patilla, school chaplain, and concelebrated by Father Thomas Vala, pastor of St. Clement Parish, Matawan.
Senior Kaleigh Remick, in her valedictorian speech, encouraged her classmates to “dream anything” as each student continues his or her own journey. Remick also urged her peers to make their voices heard beyond their school.
“Speak up for what matters to you. Speak words of kindness, words of change, words of love, and maybe words of anger, too, but speak nonetheless. Do not ever be silenced,” she said.
Classmate Amanda Tadros followed with a valedictorian speech in honor of the school’s inaugural Early College Academy class, which provides the opportunity for students to earn an associate’s degree from Brookdale Community College while earning their high school diploma at St. John Vianney. She closed with words of endearment to the entire senior class.
“Whatever you choose to do in life, make sure that you are passionate about it,” Tadros said. “Our life here on earth is very limited … make sure you can embrace it and walk home proud.”
Students were seated for a closing prayer from Marianite of Holy Cross Sister Bernadette Larson, student information systems manager.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let his light shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord look upon you with kindness and give you peace,” Sister Bernadette said in her blessing. “Members of the Class of 2018, go and make a difference.”