Congratulations Class of 2018
2018 Top Ten
The Graduating Class of 2018
Accepting Colleges & Universities for the Class of 2018
2018 College Scholarships and Grants
Good Afternoon Bishop Sullivan, Father Perry, visiting priests, Ms. Dennen, Faculty, Members of the Board of Trustees, Parents, Family, Friends, and the class of 2018.
It is a great honor to be our class salutatorian and I am thankful for the opportunity to represent our class on such an important occasion. I remember just a few weeks ago, Ms. Dennen sat Sam and me down to talk about the speeches that we would be giving today. It is such a great honor to be given the privilege from Ms. Dennen of doing an extra homework assignment of writing a speech. Not only that, but to have to read it aloud in front of a couple hundred people. But in all seriousness, it is a great honor to speak to of all of you and especially to my classmates who have endured challenges with me, succeed with me, and grown with me during these four years. And that’s what today is really about: our growth as a class and as individuals through the guidance of Holy Spirit High School. I, for one, have grown immensely over the past four years. Just standing right now talking to you is proof of that.
If you had told my freshman self that I was going to have to compose and deliver a speech in front of a few hundred people, I would never have believed it.
We did not become graduating seniors over a single night, like how this speech was written. But rather, we dedicated ourselves to overcoming obstacles and challenges through our blood, sweat, and tears to get here today. And if you were in Mr. Emmanuel’s class, you’d know this feeling very well.
We have made many memories on this journey and have taken on ventures that we never thought possible. This, however, is not the end, but rather the beginning. This is the end of the this chapter of what we hope will be the long book of life, and there will be great times ahead and there will be times where all you can say is , as Ms. Lamanna puts it “So it goes”. But we should always remember that our voyage into the adventures into adulthood began here at Holy Spirit. We should never forget the successes and failures that got us to this point -- because even the worst of our failures can teach us more about ourselves than our greatest successes.
We can never forget the one thing that unites us as a school, our Catholic faith. Without my faith in the Lord, I wouldn’t be here speaking to you today. He has always been there with me since day one, and he has been with all of us on this journey through high school.
I’d also like to thank those special people who have brought me here today. First thank you to my parents for pushing me and raising me to become the person I am today. Thank you to all the teachers and coaches that have taught me life lessons and who helped me better myself every day. And thank you to all the friends I have made throughout my time at Holy Spirit for all the fun times and experiences that I will never forget.
We are going to miss this school and everyone who made it such a wonderful experience. We’re going to miss the football games, the pep rallies, the basketball games, the musicals, the countless hours scanning mocktrial documents, and yes, even, hearing Ms. Dennen every morning on the loud speaker saying “two minutes - two minutes to homeroom, two minutes!”. And although it may seem like a sad realization, this is not the end -- but the beginning of something greater.
Today in front of me is not just the class of 2018, but a bright future filled with lawyers, business men and women, engineers, doctors, police officers, servicemen and women, and other valuable members of society and of course, the first Asian American President, Dustin Nguyen.
So today the end of our Holy Spirit experience is not the end of our growth, but a beginning. Today is the culmination of all the good times and bad, the blessings and hardships. So I congratulate you all on the hard work and dedication that brought you here today. Never forget that we are all Spartans forever and always.
I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Lou Holtz, former head football coach at Notre Dame. “Always have four things in life: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for, and something to believe in.”
Congratulations to the class of 2018.
Good Afternoon Bishop Sullivan, Fr. Perry, visiting priests, Ms. Dennen, Faculty, Members of the Board of Trustees, Friends and Family, and fellow Graduates:
Today is a celebration; it is a celebration of us, the 2018 graduating class of Holy Spirit High School. In celebrating one another, we are called to recognize the four preeminent elements of our lives that shaped us into who we are today: our education, our instructors, our families, and, most importantly, our faith. While these factors may have affected each of us differently, their presence in our lives was essential to the formation and evolution of each and every one of us. Therefore, they, too, deserve to be celebrated.
Today we celebrate our education. A graduation ceremony, in its most basic sense, does just that. The diplomas that we will receive indicate that we have taken the necessary steps to sufficiently demonstrate that we are prepared for life after high school. We have shown up every day, more or less, we have passed the tests, we have made the grade. At face value, that is what our diplomas signify. However, at Holy Spirit High School, we were all encouraged to go above and beyond this mandatory minimum. We were encouraged to participate in our education and become engaged members of the classroom. We were encouraged to cultivate an insatiable curiosity. Holy Spirit High School provided us with the opportunity to enroll in courses taught at Stockton University, including Crimes Against Humanity and Criminal Justice. Our participation in these classes allowed us to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Atlantic County Superior Courthouse. As a result of these expeditions, we were able to develop a much deeper understanding of what we had been discussing in the classroom.
These unique learning experiences were incredible, and I am so grateful to have been enrolled in these courses. In addition to providing an unparalleled education, Holy Spirit High School strives to instill in its students a love of learning. Equipped with this passion and desire for knowledge, one that was able to grow and flourish at Holy Spirit, I know that we will go far. Therefore, today we celebrate our education.
We celebrate our instructors. They are the individuals who inspired in us that passion to go beyond what is expected. They taught us that we should never settle for just being adequate; rather, we should always strive for excellence. Our instructors desired nothing more than to be an instrument of our own success. It is evident that our teachers and coaches educated not only our minds, but also our hearts. They taught us what it truly means to be a person of integrity (thank you, Mrs. Barrett!), while simultaneously ingraining in us the importance of humility, faithfulness, and kindness.
They were confident that these lessons would possess the greatest significance, for, without these attributes, we cannot succeed. The instructors at Holy Spirit truly treated us as if we were their own children. As Mr. Smith said at our Senior Class Night, we are all a part of his extended family. Therefore, today we celebrate our instructors.
We celebrate our families. Our families chose to send us to Holy Spirit High School, a decision that often required sacrifice. Moreover, our families trusted that this sacrifice would prove worthwhile in the end, and I am confident that it did. Our families, much like our instructors, worked diligently to ensure our success. They helped us prepare for assessments, listened to speeches, proofread essays-- at times getting up with us very early in the morning, or staying up very late, to accomplish these tasks. The lessons that we learned at Holy Spirit were further fortified at home. Throughout our high school years, our families were a source of encouragement, support, and guidance. They made us laugh and always knew just what to say. They love us unconditionally and accept us for who we are. As we go forward in life, we must never take this sacrifice and love for granted; rather, we should safeguard these gifts with all of our hearts. Therefore, today we celebrate our families.
And today we celebrate our faith. At Holy Spirit High School, faith was an integral component of our daily activities, in ways both overt and subtle. Opening and closing each day with a prayer, participating in religion classes, and engaging in school liturgies were the most pronounced and recognizable expressions of our faith. The subtle manifestations of our faith were equally, or even more, significant. When we helped each another prepare for an exam, when we congratulated someone after a successful track meet, or when we consoled a fellow classmate after an especially difficult day, our faith was at work.
When we did our absolute best and were content with ourselves, no matter the outcome, our faith was at work. When we excelled on the football field, produced a fantastic rendition of Shrek! the musical, and made Easter baskets for our Troops, our faith was at work.
We had the opportunity to nurture and cultivate our faith alongside our academic, athletic, and musical passions, a blessing that very few are afforded. Our faith was truly the cornerstone, the foundation from which all else was built. One of the most powerful lessons that Holy Spirit strives to instill is the significance and necessity of upholding one's faith. As we leave high school and venture out into the world, many aspects of our lives will change; our faith, however, should not be one of them. Therefore, today, and every day, we celebrate our faith.
Education, instructors, families, faith--us. We cannot have one without the other. Throughout the past four years, these elements have molded us into the people we are today: educated, grateful, faith-filled individuals who are excited to see what the future has in store.
Let us, the class of 2018, go out into the world--having pride in all that we've become, realizing that there is so much more to be accomplished, and believing that, equipped with these qualities of education, gratitude, and faith, we will be unstoppable.
Therefore, today is truly a celebration, and it is a celebration of us. Congratulations!