HAMMONTON - Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan of the Diocese of Camden challenged the graduating class of St. Joseph High School to begin exploring and to always remember they are not alone.
The theme carried through his Baccalaureate Mass Homily and into the evening with the valedictorian, salutatorian and keynote addresses during the commencement ceremony in which 97 students received their diplomas. Both events were held at Saint Joseph’s Church in Hammonton on May 31.
Sullivan reinforced the message that Pope Francis delivered during a Jubilee Year of Mercy event for teenagers. “The Pope addressed the teenagers. Class of 2016 here at St. Joseph, listen to his message. It’s directed at each one of you. I quote the Pope. ‘The Lord is always with you. He calls you to follow him, to put out into deep.’”
He told the graduates that their Catholic education of the mind, body and soul would guide them through their journeys to a point where they understand the meaning behind all that they learned at St. Joseph High School. “Remember that through your exploring, life is not a solitary adventure. You are not alone, never, ever, and your Catholic education has been leading you to develop this fundamental truth,” said Sullivan.
Valedictorian Sydney Shuster, 18, of Glassboro, talked about the journey ahead during her speech.
“We are entering our futures, beginning our lives beyond St. Joseph High School. When I think about the future, I think about the possibilities, a completely open arena where we are free to make our own decisions and choose our own destinies…
“No matter whether you have chosen to go to college, into the military, or are yet undecided, our paths all lead us to the same opportunity — the chance to change the world, to set things right. To do this, we must look to all that we learned while in St. Joseph High School, the values that separate us from the majority and enable us to make a positive impact in the world,” continued Shuster. “Now, we are called to have the strength to continue that outreach wherever our paths might lead.”
Salutatorian Jessica Poston, 18, of Sicklerville, pointed to the impact that her Catholic education will have on her future.
“So let us take a moment to appreciate what has gotten us here. St. Joseph High School is the type of school where we are not just roaming the halls as students, we walk together as a family. We have developed unique relationships with each teacher and faculty member that we can now call a friend,” said Poston.
“I want to remind every member of our graduating class that you are prepared for whatever life has to throw at you in the next chapter of your life because of the people around us. So walk with confidence as you take the steps into your next, new chapter of life. We have been given every opportunity to be able to grow and learn so that we are ready when our time comes. And graduates, our time, is now,” she continued.
John F. Franchini, Class of 1993 graduate of St. Joseph High School, delivered the keynote address during commencement. He encouraged graduates to remember three things: to embrace all the moments, good and bad; to keep their faith; and to value their families, both their relatives and the new family members they gained at St. Joseph High School.
Lauren Rutt, 17, of Hammonton, and Kevin Johnson, 17, of Lindenwold, received the Saint Joseph Award of Honor. The award is given to both a female and male student who promote the mission of St. Joseph High School, said Principal Lynn Domenico.
Domenico will retire from St. Joseph High School this summer after nine years of service. She was given an honorary diploma last Tuesday during the 77th annual commencement exercises.
Class of 2016 graduates include:
Taylor Nicole Amarando, Dylan Amos, Antonia Marie Angelo, Emily Elizabeth Bencie, Kyra D. Berrios, Christopher Brian Carey, Grace Spencer Carlson, Michael Anthony Castiglia, Ruije (Jasmine) Chen, Samantha Ann Cifelli, Alexis Marie Clements, Edward Earl Collins III, Erick J. Colon, Jenna Marie Contrevo, Emma Rose Cornicello, Brianna Jenise Cunningham, Rachel Elizabeth Davis, Hannah Patricia DeSorte, Mariela Diaz, Madison Anne Doelling, Evan Fallon, Denzel Alfredo Ferreyra, Daniel Joseph Fiore, Nicole Christine Fox;
Also: Angela Gabriella Frederick, Erika Mary Frick, Brody David Gallagher, Nicolette Carmella Garbero, Grace Kelly Gardiner, Rachel Faith Garvey, Jason Nicholas Genzone, Jessica Elise Goff, Carley Grace Goshaw, Tony F. X. Hampton, Kayle Ann Harris, Michaela Nicole Harvey, Keagan Harvin, Joseph Higbee, Glenn M. Hilliard, A’laam Horne, Sa’laam Horne, Taylor Marie Hyndman, Dominique Marie Iannaco, Caitlin Joyce Jacoby, Dominique Capri Johnson, Gabrielle Ariana Johnson, Kevin Jeffrey Johnson,
And: Samantha M. Johnston, Austin Xander Kingsbury, Jeana Margaret Latshaw, Angelica Irene Lerro, Shane Michael Leyden, Joseph Michael Long, Derek Charles Lomax, Megan Elizabeth Mancuso, Devin Martin, Talia Paige Martinez, Jana Marie Martini, Gaetano Jake Matro, Maria del Pilar Mazzochette, Davore Benjamin Richard Mewborn, Christina Priscilla Michael, Isaiah Mitchell, Steven J. Mitchell, Emiily Nicole Mulligan, Cara Marie Owsley, Michael Stephen Panichelle, John Aaron Payne, Grace Catherine Petrongolo, Katelyn Elizabeth Petters, Jessica Noelle Poston, Ryan Thomas Price, John F. Radetich, Jr., Erik Michael Riccardi, Tristen James Ridarelli, Juanita Roberson, Lauren Rae Rutt, Morgan Avery Rutt,
And: Carlina Rose Sacco, Joseph John Schipsi III, Eric John Shicunoff, Sydney Theresa Shuster, Ryan Joseph Sigloch, Edward Peter Simpson, Gabrielle Nicole Sirolli, Taylor Dominique Sirolli, Bianca Lynn Marie Smith, Donald R. Swift Jr., Rha-Sun Tapp II, Dominic Robert Tartaglia, Tyler John Tartaglia, George Vasilios Tassakis, Edward Francis Testa, Aurimas Tverijonas, John William Whitcraft, Sarah Ann Wible, Patrick James Wilson and Kevin John Francis Witasick Jr.