By Rose O’Connor | Correspondent
The heavy downpours and spring rain storms could not dampen the spirits of the Trenton Catholic Academy Class of 2015 as they entered St. Anthony Church, Hamilton, for their baccalaureate Mass and commencement exercises June 2. The graduating class, who boasts a 100 percent graduation rate and 100 percent college acceptance, received $3.35 million dollars in scholasrship monies, an average of $84,000 per student.
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“This is a special day for us,” Ameer Gonzalez, student council president, said as he welcomed Msgr. Thomas J. Mullelly, episcopal vicar for diocesan Office of Clergy and Consecrated Life, TCA chaplain, Father John C. Garrett, local parish priests, JoAnn Tier, diocesan moderator, Office of Catholic Education and superintendent of Schools, members of the Class of 1965, honored family and friends of the graduates.
Speaking about the significance of their graduation to the Class of 2015 in his homily, Msgr. Mullelly noted that “TCA is not an easy school,” then acknowledged the need for the graduates to be “thankful to God in the most appropriate way for the gifts and talents” given to the members of the senior class.
He reminded the graduates to remember their parents and teachers who “supported you through” your high school career and encouraged the students to always “seek excellence and to walk humbly with the Lord.”
Salutatorian Adreona Daniels urged her classmates to “live in this moment wholeheartedly” and implored them to “stand strong in your faith in God.”
Daniels, who will major in criminal justice in Husson University, Bangor, ME, in the fall, emboldened the graduates to “leave your mark” and “use the gifts God has given you to carve your place in history.”
Class valedictorian, Cedric Lary, recalled key moments of the past four years and spoke of his high school experience as one that allowed “my relationship with God to flourish.” He urged his fellow graduates to “return home often” and visit their alma mater frequently.
TC A president, Sister of St. Joseph Dorothy Payne reminded the Class of 2015 that “You are our hope for the future. My hope for you is that you fulfill your dreams and find happiness.”
She urged the young men and women to “make wise choices and grow in their relationship with God” and to always give back. “Use the gifts wisely and always do your best,” said Sister Dorothy.
Tier exhorted the young men and women to “dream big.”
“You are marvelously unique,” she continued and advised them to “think creatively and differently” and to “find joy in each day.”
Jane Brown, a member of the class of 1965, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of their own high school graduation, inducted the Class of 2015 into the Iron Mikes Alumni Association. Sister Dorothy later shared Brown was the first valedictorian of the school under its former name, St. Anthony Catholic High School.
Michele Neves, Upper School Director, addressed the Class of 2015 for the final time, advising them to “follow the path Jesus has provided” and to always “respect life- because it is a precious gift from God.”
“Be messengers of hope,” she declared.
Neves shared her joys working with the senior class, her last graduating class at TCA, as she had previously announced that she had taken a position much closer to home in northern NJ.
The parents of the graduates also were eager to speak of their children’s successes as they reflected on the past four years in Trenton Catholic Academy.
“I am very proud of her,” Bathsheba Daniels said of her daughter Adreona. “I am always encouraging her to go above and beyond.”
Linda Derivors, mother of valedictorian Cedric Lary, expressed her pride in her son and in TCA. “I love the school, I love the people in the school, I love the teachers in this school.”
“He is very generous, he is a great student, a great teammate and he has such a kind heart,” Carlos DelValle said of his son, Michael, who is heading to St. John’s University in New York City where he will major in business.