Blessings and Inspirations for the Class of 2014
Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School held its 132nd Commencement exercises on May 31 in the Kelly Gymnasium. The graduates received their diplomas along with messages of inspiration and reflection.
Father George Alengadan opened the ceremony with a blessing for the students. “Bless our graduates and their dreams and their futures. Bless their feet that they may go where you want them to go. Bless their hands that they may do your will. Bless their eyes that they may recognize the divine spirit that is in every human being. Bless their hearts that they may beat in time with yours.”
Principal Simon Chiu spoke of the love and pride he felt for the graduates. He encouraged the class to alight on their next journey with the gifts of wisdom, patience and humility. “Your calling is to bring your gifts and talents to the world. Let that flame burn bright wherever you go and let that spirit shine in whatever you do.”
Keynote speaker Christopher Wagner ’74 remarked that none of his prior speaking engagements, including those delivered to the U.S. Congress, gave him as much honor as this one. He asked the graduates to reflect on the fact that they have the opportunity to lead in every facet of their lives. “Your leadership journey has already started – it’s a choice you made a long time ago.” Mr. Wagner asked the students to use the values they developed at SJND to be intentional in their choices and their leadership. “Will you be a leader who creates an environment where others thrive and want to learn? Will you be a selfless leader who puts the success of the team ahead of their own success? Will you look to learn from your followers? Will you even have followers?”
Valedictorian Amelia Khoo, who will matriculate to Brown University, spoke of the moments and experiences that she and her classmates will remember. “From van rides filled with laughter to nights spent rushing homework assignments, from lunches with your best friends to heart-to-hearts with teachers, from opening night to the last game of the season, SJND has become the soil in which we've cultivated gardens of both knowledge and friendship.” She asked her classmates not to be held back by fear in their future endeavors, but rather to befriend challenge as a way to continue to learn and grow. Let us take to heart the words of St. Francis of Assisi when he said: “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
After the ceremony students gathered with family, friends and teachers outside the gym and tossed their caps into the air in mark of this momentous transition and celebration.