By MIKE CHAIKEN
One-hundred-seventeen students at St. Paul Catholic High School became the parochial school’s latest alumni as they graduated during commencement exercises Tuesday night.
In a ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford, the students celebrated their final night as high school students.
Prior to walking through the upper cathedral before family and friends, the seniors gathered in the lower cathedral at St. Joseph, figuring out how to put on their caps and gowns, taking “selfies,” and spending their final moments with their school friends.
Lauren Palmer, one of the seniors said, “I can’t believe it’s finally ending and we’re all going our own separate ways after four long years. Some of us have been together even longer— from elementary school and the other Catholic schools. It’s just crazy it’s all coming to an end.”
“It’s a very bittersweet moment,” said senior Sarah Bowes. “I’m excited but I’m a little sad to be leaving my friends.”
Elena Thornberg, another senior, said, “I’m really excited to move on to the next phase of my life and have a lot of fun in college. I’m going to miss the people and friends.”
Although they were leaving behind St. Paul, Palmer, Bowes, and Thornberg believed the Catholic school had prepared them well for what comes next in their lives.
After the St. Paul students walked through the upper cathedral and took their places in the pews for commencement, the ceremony began.
Valedictorian Adam S. Levesque offered some words of advice to his peers. “Number one: Live young. Too often, especially in high school, we act more grown up than we really are.” Secondly, he said, “Live life —or live bold. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. In fact, make a lot of mistakes. Most, you’ll learn from them.” Finally, he said, “Live free. Live up to your fullest potential.”
In her address to her fellow graduates, salutatorian Maria Rita Aliberti, rather than offering advice issued a “call to action.”
“We have been given a mission, and that mission is to make a better world by going out and living as good role models and I dare to say, as heroes,” said Aliberti.
“We truly need to reach out and make a difference in the lives of others. We need to work to make the world a better place, not only for ourselves but for the people around us,” said Aliberti. “Let us be the light of this world, let us be the role models of today inspiring those of tomorrow, let us be the heroes who can make a change in the world of today.”
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN