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home : features : graduation December 12, 2017

RBC graduates saluted for spirit, service and faith
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., speaks with members of RBC’s Class of 2017 after the Baccalaureate Mass and graduation services.

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., speaks with members of RBC’s Class of 2017 after the Baccalaureate Mass and graduation services.

Msgr. Philip A. Lowery, pastor of St. James Parish, Red Bank, shakes hands with an RBC graduate during commencement.

Msgr. Philip A. Lowery, pastor of St. James Parish, Red Bank, shakes hands with an RBC graduate during commencement.

Isobel Roison Murrer's Valedictory Speech

Standing before everyone here today, proud parents, exhausted teachers, siblings who may or may not know what is going on, and of course the RBC Class of 2017, I feel honored.  

As Mr. A has told us, we’ve broken all the records set by the classes before us.  But none of that was done by just one person, or even a select few.  It was done by the overall accumulation of achievements from all 227 of us, and all the effort each one of us has put in during our four years here.  There are a million things that I can’t do or don’t know, that half of you are amazing at or know about.  I’m not that good at keeping up with current events, but either Mark Caverly or John Joyce could probably give me a three minute recap on what’s going on, depending on which political party's side I feel like hearing that day.  I can do maybe 15 pushups in a row, but Erika Recanzone could probably easily bench press me and Connor Caizza could flip down three flights of stairs before I even made it to 15 pushups.  It might take me an entire quarter in Period 2 Advanced Drawing to finish one charcoal drawing, meanwhile there are multiple students here who have already started their own businesses and are steadily creating products.  We all have incredible talents, they just might not be visible from a classroom’s viewpoint.

Despite what some people might think or say, RBC really is one of the most well-rounded schools.  We have not only some of the smartest students here, but also some insane performers, athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, singers and so much more.  And so many of us are using our own talents not just for personal gain but to go out and make the world a better place.  There are some athletes who have been through a lot of injuries throughout their careers, and are planning to pursue physical therapy to help others who have been in their shoes.  Some incredible singers are considering musical education, and some dedicated students are looking into special education.  So many people at this age already preparing to go out into the world and not just try to survive, but try to build upon their passions and spread it to others so that many can benefit. This gives me hope that our generation will be less geared towards an “every man for himself” attitude, and more towards one with a greater sense of community and togetherness.

Mr. Hill predicted in the first few days of this year that our motivation levels would slope downward towards negative infinity as the year went on. Even though that might have been entirely accurate, the fact that we all made it here today after accomplishing so much during our four years is pretty impressive.  People from our class have played at METLife Stadium, performed at Carnegie Hall, and gotten accepted to Harvard.  All the achievements we have earned highlight one of my favorite quotes: “Great things may come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.”  We are a class that pushes ourselves to do more, to do better, and to exceed expectations.

However, we would not be here today without our parents or RBC’s faculty.  I will be forever grateful to my mom and dad for sending me here, because I don’t think I would have been able to grow as much as I have as a student, as a friend, and in my faith if I had been sent anywhere else.  Mr. Hill and Mr. Eng are two of the nicest people and greatest teachers I know, and somehow made me love math even more than I already do.  Mrs. Walas helped inspire me to pursue engineering by always making her class exciting and thought-provoking.  I always knew that if I needed someone to talk to or laugh with, Ms. Boylan would be there.  I honestly wasn’t sure if I would survive two years of Mrs. Jacomme’s class, but in the end I never felt more prepared for an AP exam or more knowledgeable about the material we learned.  While not everyone had the same teacher experiences I did, there is at least one teacher that each of us owes a lot to, and I hope that we each get a chance to make our gratitude known.

I’d also like to shout out to my friends who have stuck by my side despite my imperceptible sarcasm, my apparently “fast” driving, and my refusal to let any of them straighten my hair.   You guys know who you are, and I couldn’t have made it here without you.

RBC has taught me countless things over the years: that Delbarton wears crocs, that it takes about 420 rubber bands to make a watermelon explode, that sometimes your vertical farm will dry up and die, but you can just tell everyone that now you are making dried herbs and that this was done on purpose.  In all seriousness though, I’ve learned how to interact with so many distinct personalities, how to handle my work and stay organized and how to keep religion important in my life, despite being busy, stressed, and pulled in all different directions by my activities.  This school has prepared me and all of you as much as it could for entering the real world, and for that I am forever grateful.

As much as I’ve enjoyed spending the past four years drowning in vineyard vines and Sperrys and rook and souped up pickup trucks or blindingly bright sports cars, it’s time for all of us to move on to the next stages of our lives.  While the thought of leaving the bubble of Monmouth County is both surreal and intimidating, it’s a step we have to take, and a step that we will be able to handle. And, in the long run, we will all be better people for taking this step out of our comfort zones and will learn to love the crazy world in which we live.  I wish all of you the best of luck in whatever you go on to pursue, and thank everyone who played a part in our lives for getting us here today.  Stay gold, Class of 2017.

By Lois Rogers | Correspondent

A day of prayer for the future and thanksgiving for four, well-completed years of study, service and faith unfolded seamlessly June 5 inside the vast reaches of the Monmouth University Activities Center for Red Bank Catholic’s Class of 2017.

Photo Gallery from Red Bank Catholic's Graduation

Photo Gallery from Red Bank Catholic's Baccalaureate Mass

There, in the presence of thousands of parents, family members and friends, 227 graduating seniors heard themselves praised for completing four years of rigorous study even as they excelled in sports, the arts and most importantly, generosity to the less fortunate.

The day began with a Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and concelebrated by Msgr. Philip A. Lowery, RBC director and pastor of St. James Parish, Red Bank, and RBC chaplain Father Mark Nillo, St. James parochial vicar.

The Red Bank Catholic Chamber Choir, directed by Shawn Mack, an RBC alumnus, bathed the 4,100-seat arena in soaring sacred music throughout the Mass.

In his homily, Bishop O’Connell shared his pride in the students, noting that on a visit to an area coffee shop, wearing an RBC T-shirt prompted someone to ask whether he had kids enrolled at the school.

“I said yes, 850 of them!” Bishop O’Connell said. “I am so proud of the school and so proud to be here on this special day,” he added.

As would be noted in remarks during the graduation exercise later in the day, the students’ academic, athletic, community-minded and religious accomplishments speak for themselves in the $32.5 million scholarships awarded by colleges, corporations and organizations, according to the 178 students who reported their amounts.

Bishop O’Connell challenged the young people to keep alive after graduation the faith that had been conveyed to them by their parents and burnished by RBC. A Baccalaureate Mass is the “perfect time to make a commitment” to faith, he said.

Drawing from the Solemnity of Pentecost the day before, he urged graduates to “keep faith in the things you hope for, the things the Church offers us and, most importantly, in our relationship with Christ” as well as the Savior’s eternal pledge not to leave his people orphans but to be with them until the end of time.

Addressing the young people during commencement, RBC principal Robert Abatemarco reflected on the merits of the class. He spoke of the students’ individuality, adaptability and enthusiasm as members of the RBC community.

“Once a ‘Casey,’ always a ‘Casey,’” said Abatemarco, adding that Caseys in general would be watching after this class. “They exceed in scholarship and academics. They have excelled in a variety of ways … perhaps the most important way of all, they have dedicated themselves to the less fortunate. … We love them.”

Those sentiments were echoed in the remarks of valedictorian Isobel Roisin Murrer and Carolyn Anne Davin, the salutatorian. Best friends in RBC, they will be going on to Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind. Davin will study computer mathematics and statistics while Murrer will major in computer science.

Both said they chose Notre Dame because they wanted to continue their faith-based education.

In their remarks, the young women summed up their feelings for the school and their classmates and expressed their love for their parents. Each offered bits of advice to their fellow graduates.

Murrer recognized the “incredible accomplishments” of her classmates who “can do a million things that I can’t do,” ranging from scores of pushups to music and the arts. She urged them to go out and make the world a better place and, as they hold onto their passions, do more for others.

Davin urged the Class of 2017 to “be true to yourselves and do your job with love, courage and dedication. … The key to success is being kind and having faith in God and yourself.”




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