By JoAnn Tier | Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools
With poise, confidence and dignity, the Graduates of the Class of 2017 took part in Baccalaureate Masses and Commencement Exercises marking a conclusion of their high school days.
As witnessed by their academic endeavors, accomplishments, service and involvement, the graduates have been recognized as people to invest in, with over $221 million in scholarships and grants awarded to them. That return on investment will be realized as the graduates become tomorrow’s leaders and positively impact our broader society.
We applaud the 1,684 graduates from Donovan Catholic, Toms River; Holy Cross Academy, Delran; Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville; Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank; St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel; St. Rose High School, Belmar; Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton, along with private Catholic schools including Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft; Mater Dei Prep, Middletown; Stuart Country Day School, Princeton; and Villa Victoria Academy, Ewing.
Sincere thanks are extended to parents for their personal sacrifice and commitment in choosing a Catholic school for their child’s education. Administrators and teachers are likewise recognized for their contributions as they teach and model the faith while guiding, encouraging and empowering the graduates to explore and expand their potential.
The graduates are well-prepared for a future that continues to unfold and expand. A wide selection of courses provided graduates with a sampling of knowledge to spur their interests. Beyond high school courses, students expanded their learning by taking part in dual enrollment programs available through Georgian Court University, Seton Hall University, Brookdale Community College, Mercer County College and Rowan University at Burlington County College. Students who take part in the dual enrollment program graduate with college credits, which can lighten the financial burden of undergraduate work.
As students say goodbye to all that is familiar, they are encouraged to realize God’s presence in their lives and to recognize their personal responsibility to create a positive impact on our earth and on others.
We live in a complex world in need of healing. Our environment has been abused and stripped of natural resources. Our society is often marked by insensitivity, injury and cruelty to human beings, to God’s creation.
Graduates will be called upon to use their education wisely and powerfully to bring about a world of trust, a world of acceptance, a world in which we recognize and acclaim the blessings of faith, family, country and the human spirit.
Our world needs such commitment.
We are each a special part of God’s plan and we can have a significant effect in each other’s lives.
Pope Francis encourages us to look toward the future; a future that is made of encounters with each person’s existence deeply tied to one another. He relates that we build the future by standing together – every one of us.
We are proud of our graduates, young men and women to whom we look to be the light that the world needs.
May they enjoy the journey which unfolds into tomorrows. May they experience the life-giving energy that God has placed in each of us, and work to develop their talents to the fullest.
The wisdom of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman bears reflection: “God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.”
Congratulations and God’s blessings, graduates of the Class of 2017.