A class of 235 graduates received their diplomas Monday during a ceremony in Saint Viator High School’s Cahill Gymnasium, but the event featured more than “Pomp and Circumstance.”
For starters, its members earned nearly $29 million in scholarship money and volunteered nearly 24,000 hours of service to the marginalized.
But it was the theme they chose for their class, as freshmen, that seemed to shine through during commencement exercises: Journey of Faith.
“I am very proud of all that they have accomplished,” said Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, vice president of Viatorian mission and identity, “but mostly of the personal growth that I have seen over the last four years.”
He points to Jake Wolf ’18, for starters. Fr. Hall helped to coach him on both the football and wrestling teams — where he was a state qualifier — but it was his leadership in service and in mentoring his fellow students where he stood out.
Jake woke up early every Thursday morning throughout the school year to serve at a local homeless shelter, before school. Not only that, but he recruited many of his classmates to help.
“Over time, it grew on me so much,” Jake said. “I know where I am in life. I consider it a blessing and a privilege to be able to do this.”
Jake won one of the most prestigious
awards of the night, the Johnstone Award, which was created in memory of Andrew Johnstone, who died in the summer of 1991 before the start of his senior year, when he would have served as class president.
Thomas Stanila addressed the crowd as valedictorian, while Jeremy Yoder had spoken at the baccalaureate Mass, celebrated by Fr. Hall, as salutatorian.
“Give back to the community that has given us so much,” Jeremy said. “Cherish the lessons and the love Saint Viator has brought into our lives — and pay it forward to those who will follow in our footsteps.”