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Class of 2024 celebrates lessons learned from a Catholic education – Catholic Star Herald

Class of 2024 celebrates lessons learned from a Catholic education – Catholic Star Herald

Students from the Class of 2024 at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon toss their caps in the air at the conclusion of their graduation ceremony June 2 at the Church of the Assumption at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Galloway. (Photo: Lori M. Nichols)

Author: Peter G. Sánchez, Staff Writer

and Mike Bress, special specialist

Marlyn Roman shed a tear as she prepared to watch her daughter receive her diploma and graduate from Camden Catholic High School.

“This Catholic school has always been a family; everyone was there for her in everything she needed,” Roman said during her June 7 graduation and commencement Mass at Cherry Hill. Her daughter, Lyneidi Colon, will attend Rowan College’s Cumberland County campus in South Jersey with a career as a pediatrician in mind.

“It really is the gift of life,” Roman said of Catholic education.

Indeed, hundreds of students from five Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Camden celebrated this gift by receiving diplomas and twirling their tassels during graduation ceremonies in South Jersey the week of June 2-7.

Although they attended schools stretching from the Jersey Shore to the Delaware River – Holy Spirit, Absecon; Wildwood Catholic Academy, Wildwood; Gloucester Catholic, Gloucester City; Paul VI, Haddonfield and Camden Catholic – in addition to faith, a common thread united these Class of 2024. Beginning their high school careers in the fall of 2020, they learned in the middle of a global pandemic. They were introduced to masks, dividers, hybrid learning and other guidelines that separated them from their classmates.

Patrick Bean of Wildwood Catholic Academy receives his diploma from Bishop Dennis Sullivan as Dr. Bill Watson, superintendent of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Camden, stands at left June 4 at Saint Ann Church in Notre Dame de la Mer Parish in Wildwood. (Photo: Lori M. Nichols)

In her speech, Isabella Dain of Camden Catholic praised her “strong, resilient” graduates “who have not only succeeded, but will continue to succeed in the real world. … I am not optimistic about what lies ahead.”

Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan, who celebrated Mass at each high school. high school graduation, he preached on a similar topic. “Don’t live in isolation in this world (but) be responsible for it. (…) As Christians, we look beyond ourselves, notice others and reach out to them. … You have to give to others so that they can grow.”

In total, almost 900 graduates – from both the five Catholic secondary schools of the diocese and the three Catholic religious secondary schools in the diocese – will go out into the world to follow the bishop’s advice. A total of 89% of graduates go on to four-year colleges. A total of more than $182 million has been awarded in academic and athletic scholarships.

Graduates leave behind good memories.

“I will miss the students every day. They have become part of my family,” teacher Amy Evans noted at Holy Spirit High School’s June 2 graduation.

Not only is Evans a proud 1994 graduate of Holy Spirit School, but she is also a proud parent. This year’s graduates included her daughter Delaney.

Evans, who teaches French and Spanish and is a director of musicals, shared her hopes for the Class of 2024: “(that) they will always discover their talents, develop their skills, and always grow and expand their horizons.”

Spartan alumna Elizabeth Saunders, who is studying education at Stockton University, said she was “grateful that the Holy Spirit has given me so many opportunities to become the best version of myself.”

Another graduate, Mariah Nell, said she appreciated what she had learned over the years at Holy Spirit: “an emphasis on hope, compassion and loving those around you.” She said she is grateful to be “surrounded by God and peers who make Catholic school and Catholic education of the utmost importance to them. (…) Collaborating with others who share these ideals will help you maintain these values “.

For Joe Cray, principal of Wildwood Catholic Academy, being able to see the Class of 2024 overcome all obstacles over the past four years is proof that “they are ready to take on whatever life throws at them.”

Graduates take selfies after receiving their diplomas on June 6 at the high school. Paul VI in Haddonfield. (Photo: Joe Warner)

Given Wildwood Catholic’s long-standing tradition of inviting graduates to return to their alma mater, Cray said he is excited to follow graduates and their accomplishments and encourage them to share their college experiences with current Crusaders.

Bernadette Janis, a graduate of the high school class, was also excited to reconnect with her Catholic school family. Paul VI ’85, whose son Andrew now joins his mother and five siblings as an Eagle graduate.

“I’m thinking about staying connected as a parent of graduates and helping other families on their path to Catholic school,” she said at her June 6 graduation.

“Catholic schools have always raised standards,” she continued. “My children received an exceptional, faith-filled education, as I did, (through) outstanding teachers and administrators who facilitate learning based on our Catholic faith. (It) influences who they are and what they do.

After fully embarking on their learning journey in Catholic schools, Bishop Sullivan said in his remarks, graduates of the Class of 2024 must now become accustomed to “leaving something behind and traveling to encounter something new.”

“The transition to college is different for everyone,” said Tom Iacovone Jr., principal of Gloucester Catholic High School, who helped send graduates to the school’s June 5 commencement. “I hope that wherever their journey takes them, they will find the love we have given them.”

Michael Bress is the communications and marketing manager for the diocesan Office of Catholic Education.