Saying Goodbye to the Class of 2020June 15, 2020
When I began my tenure as administrator of St. Patrick Catholic School, the students from the Class of 2020 were in 1st grade. After 12 years with them, we said goodbye on Sunday, June 14. On that day, they entered a new phase of their lives. Our goal at St. Patrick is to ensure […]
When I began my tenure as administrator of St. Patrick Catholic School, the students from the Class of 2020 were in 1st grade. After 12 years with them, we said goodbye on Sunday, June 14. On that day, they entered a new phase of their lives.
Our goal at St. Patrick is to ensure that when our seniors receive their diplomas on graduation day, they have a rock-solid foundation for a successful life–a life that our Lord has prepared for each one of them. Our goal is that they will continue to serve as living representatives of our school mission statement: We Pray! We Learn! We Achieve!
While many events were similar to those of other classes that have come before them at St. Patrick High School, this class had a unique and memorable experience to say the least. The year started off like any normal school year and included our annual Spirit Week and homecoming celebrations, and our football team made it to the state finals with a trip to the Superior Dome in Marquette. Our school year continued to proceed without incident as any regular school year. The Class of 2020 had a great senior trip to Boyne Mountain Resort in February and were looking forward to winding down the school year with prom, senior banquet, graduation Mass, and commencement on the horizon.
Suddenly, the rug was pulled out from underneath them. School was closed for three weeks beginning on March 13 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This eventually led to the cancellation of the remainder of in-person classes and all extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year. The many traditions and events we take for granted were now looking like they might not happen. Instead, new events were created to give everyone an opportunity to recognize them for all they worked for and achieved.
We had pictures of each student posted on the window of our school, videos of and for the Class of 2020 made, and an awesome parade through our town. Finally, graduation Mass and commencement arrived, albeit with limited attendance and taking place in a tent instead of the church and school gymnasium.
Graduation began with Mass celebrated by our pastor, Reverend Michael Alber, who provided inspiring words during his homily. After Mass, it was time for our first outdoor and live streamed commencement in school history. I began by sharing the major achievements of the Class of 2020 which included the following:
- 13 of the 26 students are members of the National Honor Society.
- 17 were recognized as CMAC Scholar Athletes, meaning they had at least a 3.4 GPA and lettered in at least two sports, one of which was in their senior year.
- Twenty-five out of the 26 have plans to go on to some form of higher education. One is joining the National Evangelization Team (N.E.T.) for a year or two.
- One is discerning her vocation as a religious sister, and one is planning to attend seminary.
- Two have signed a National Letter of Intent to participate in college volleyball.
- Twelve are graduating with honors (3.79 GPA or higher) with six having a weighted 4.0 GPA or higher. Twenty-three have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Bishop David Walkowiak opened our commencement ceremony with prayer and Fr. Mike followed with some thoughts about the Class of 2020. Salutatorian Jeffrey Davlin and valedictorians Tyler Coyne and Bret Weller addressed their classmates, talking about the family atmosphere of St. Patrick School, sharing accomplishments, memories, good times together, and all the possibilities for a great future. Following the speeches, the graduates were called forward to receive their diplomas from Bishop Walkowiak. One by one, they turned their tassel, and the Class of 2020 joined a group of more than 2,200 living Shamrock alumni around the world.
Fr. Mike closed the ceremony with prayer and the Class of 2020 processed out of the tent and into the future. They followed our annual Shamrock tradition of getting a post-graduation class picture on the steps in front of the school gym, and finally, they ended their high school career with the annual tossing of mortar boards (caps). It was an official ending to a great school career by a great group of students.
They are leaving with a rock-solid foundation of values, knowledge, wisdom, and faith. I can say with the utmost certainty that they prayed, they learned, and yes, without a doubt, they achieved. May God bless every one of them and their future endeavors as they move to the next phase of their lives.