By Lois Rogers, Correspondent
With gratitude and high hopes for a future founded on the principles and goals of Princeton’s Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, the Class of 2018 – 38 strong – closed the door on high school June 9 and opened the door to the adult world.
Photo Gallery: Stuart Graduation 2018
Photo Gallery: Stuart Baccalaureate Mass 2018
Taking their places in the annual commencement ritual, clad distinctively in white dresses of their choice, the young women were sent off with best wishes by Dr. Patricia L. Fagin, head of school, members of the administration and their own classmates. On June 7, Father Gregory Malovetz, Stuart chaplain, sent the students off in prayer during the Baccalaureate Mass.
Senior class speaker Alexandra Bullen-Smith set the tone for the commencement afternoon thanking “everyone for the four years at Stuart, a school that reflects one big family and all the colors of the rainbow.” The Stuart website proudly touts the widely diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds of the student body and faculty, drawn from 55 countries around the world, which Bullen-Smith likened to a family garden.
“High school is hard for every family,” she said. “We strove, we achieved, we fought for change, establishing a swim team, a Mother’s Day club … we set the bar high and followed our passions.” The class was especially motivated by connecting with each other in its late night prayer circle where they reflected on the opportunities they had to change the world.
Referring to classmates as a “beautifully diverse and chaotic group,” Bullen-Smith said during their time in Stuart, they made a difference in the arts, academics and service.
In a moving, but brief address, Dr. Fagin noted that celebrations were taking place across the world as the Sacred Heart community is celebrating the 200th anniversary of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne establishing its traditions in the New World.
Drawing from the writings of St. Rose Philippine, she noted that the territory was rife with “poverty and Christian heroism … trials are the riches of this land, and still she stayed.”
She praised the class for the appreciation of its multi-national and racial diversity, fostering among other achievements, a classical Indian dance club, black student union and Chinese club.
Cynthia Carroll, Class of 1974, offered a stirring commencement address, assuring the graduates that any nervousness they were experiencing during the rite of passage was likely the same as that she experienced 44 years ago.
“I had no clue. I was scared but ready to start a new chapter,” said Carroll.
“… Like you, we faced an uncertain future. Today, our world is so fluid. It brings huge opportunities and you are in a unique position … to seize opportunities as they come along. I will pray for you,” she said, urging them to “always be prepared, stay true to what you believe and work hard, work hard and realize that sometimes good luck is a factor and you have to be ready for it.”
Members of Stuart Country Day School’s Class of 2018 listen intently to the commencement speaker, Cynthia Carroll, Class of 1974, during the graduation ceremony held June 9 in the school’s Cor Unum. This year, 38 young women graduated from the all-girls school. John Batkowski photo