Archbishop's web site Denver Catholic Register Parishes Catholic Pastoral Center
May 30, 2001
Catholic grads step into future armed with faith
High achieving students awarded $13.2 million in scholarships
By Roxanne King
In one of the most profound rites of passage youth undergo, more than 650 students graduated from the five Catholic high schools over the past two weeks and said goodbye to childhood as they stepped into the future as young adults.
Formed in faith, challenged by teachers, and loved by friends and family, the youth were all smiles and hugs as they celebrated their own and each other's achievements at commencement ceremonies.
Unity, gratitude and confidence were the themes valedictorians and salutatorians shared with their classmates.
"We are united by our friendships and tonight, by our sense of accomplishment," Anna Marie Clasen, valedictorian at Bishop Machebeuf High said during ceremonies May 18. "We are united in the faith and beliefs we share. We are united by the truth that God is with us here tonight, as he will be with us in our futures."
"We leave well-prepared for life, confident in the knowledge we have gained while attending school here, and filled with the love your hours of teaching and advising have given us," she added. "Thank you to our families and friends who have stood by to help us, congratulate us and encourage us."
Salutatorian Barbara Hughes spoke about the "community of faith" that nurtured the students and encouraged her classmates to remember to continue their formation "in the Body of Christ."
"Our protective hedge has been removed, but the knowledge and memories that we take with us will be our guide into the future," she said. Later she added, "Although this class departs, we are part of an even greater community of believers in which we will always be welcome."
At Holy Family May 25, Valedictorian Tom Glorioso warned classmates that achieving their goals is "not good if we lose sight of what is important."
"Our accomplishments can sometimes be ruined if we fail in relationships with family and friends, or by forgetting our faith and morals," he said.
Holy Family Salutatorian Barby Frie also emphasized community.
"Remember how you and I became `we,' and the next time you are given the chance to let someone touch your life, or to touch someone else's life, grab it with both hands," she said. "I know `we' will succeed."
Holy Family and Bishop Machebeuf are the two archdiocesan high schools. Private Catholic high schools include Regis Jesuit High for boys, St. Mary's Academy for girls, and coed Mullen High.
Class sizes ranged from Mullen's 241 grads, to St. Mary's 66. Bright, the five schools' students were awarded an estimated $13.2 million in scholarships. Schools they will be attending include Yale, Notre Dame, Stanford, Cornell, Georgetown, Marquette, Regis, University of Colorado, and Colorado State University, guidance counselors said.
Persistence is the quality that defines Mullen's graduating class, said Bob Carrejo, coordinator for community life, as he cited students' work on restoring a tradition lost for years of celebrating an all Catholic High School Mass.
"One of the things we try to do in the Jesuit school is called `becoming a man for others,'" said Bill Jelinek, director of counseling. "That's one of the qualities of the class. They're pretty active in service and show care and concern for each other and the teachers."
Service also is the defining quality of St. Mary's class of 2001, said Principal Kathryn McNamee.
"They're confident, highly intelligent, energetic these are kids that are really involved with community service," she said.
Unity is the outstanding quality Machebeuf grads exhibited, said Principal Bill Giddings.
Inquisitive, forward thinking, fun loving and caring, are the marks of this year's Holy Family grads, according to Principal Sister Mary Rose Lieb, O.S.F.
"What great qualities," she told the class. "As you close this door in your life and open another that will be filled with challenges, opportunities and sometimes difficulties, remember that Jesus is with you always.
"Peace and all good," she said.