The Class of 2018 applauds during the valedictory and salutatory speeches.

The Class of 2018 applauds during the valedictory and salutatory speeches.

By Georgiana Francisco | Correspondent

Graduation exercises for Villa Victoria Academy, Ewing, held June 3 in the school’s theater, began with a Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by Msgr. John K. Dermond, adjutant judicial vicar, followed by commencement speeches and awarding diplomas to 12 young women making up the Class of 2018, some of them having attended Villa Victoria from first grade through their senior year.

Photo Gallery: Villa Victoria Academy Graduation 2018
Photo Gallery: Villa Victoria Academy Baccalaureate Mass 2018

Prior to the conferring of diplomas, valedictorian Mary Zsolway addressed fellow graduates, faculty and guests, praising Academy teachers. “Every morning they get up and give every piece of themselves to make us better people, and in return, make the world a better place.” Because of that, she said, “Whether you’ve been at Villa for four years or 14, every graduate will walk off this stage with the same grace and confidence that so typifies the strong women that Villa produces.”

Zsolway acknowledged the difference Catholic education makes. “We’ve gained a forever friend in Christ who will carry us through the rough patches and help us to know that he has a plan, and in knowing this, we will be able to accomplish anything we set our minds to. Through Villa, we’ve gained a deeper understanding of our faith and hence the hope and knowledge that our paths will lead us to fulfill Christ’s will wherever we may go. Inevitably, this life will provide trials. But with the help of God, our families, and our forever Villa sisters, no challenge will be too great or problem insurmountable.”

Keynote speaker Filippini Sister Ascenza Tizzano, provincial superior, acknowledged, “I am … privileged to be with you and to share a simple message as you celebrate this milestone, a landmark that celebrates the closure of another chapter in your lives, but also marks the beginning of a new one. This is, by no means, the final curtain call.”

Sister Ascenza left the graduates with the challenge of lighting the fire of the love of God. “When God is the center of your life, your life will be one of great achievement.” She also challenged them to light the flame of worthiness. “It will span your ability to make valid, moral decisions. Do not follow the path where others lead – make your own path. We are counting on you…to become a blessing to the world,” she said.

Prior to seeing his daughter, Olivia, graduate, Stephen Quinn said, “This is an amazing school where the girls are happy, get a phenomenal education, learn about service, and emerge as well-rounded, independent-thinking women.”

All 12 students comprising the school’s 81st graduating class, having earned $2.4 million in scholarships, will continue their education at colleges and universities around the country.