Holy Cross Academy graduates urged to set high standards
By Dubravka Cortese | Correspondent
Cloudy skies and rain showers did not dampen the spirits of the Holy Cross Academy Class of 2015 as its 139 members celebrated the 55th commencement June 1. The commencement exercise in the auditorium of the Delran school was a celebration of four years of togetherness and growth, both spiritually and academically. The maroon and white robed graduates marked the end of a memorable chapter in their lives’ journeys surrounded by family and friends.
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, members of the Class of 1965 were honored guests at the event. Also in attendance were pastors of Burlington County parishes and members of the Board of Trustees.
Salutatorian Zoe Foglia told the crowd, “The past four years can be divided into different chapters that all came together to form a complete book. Each graduate before me has the ability to write their own sequel.”
Fellow salutatorian Kevin Carroll spoke for his fellow graduates when he said, “We have dedicated ourselves to being the best we can be.”
Class valedictorian Jenna Romano reminded her fellow graduates that attending Holy Cross was a “gift.” She encouraged her classmates to “use our opportunities to effect positive change in the world.
“We have only today to use the opportunities we have been given. So let us do so,” Romano said.
Class president Brendan McDonough presented the Class of 2015 flag which took its place in history surrounded by the flags of past graduating classes.
Diocesan moderator of Catholic Education and Holy Cross alumnus JoAnn Tier told the students to “Dream. Dream big.”
“You are a unique creation of God, and you make a difference by being on this Earth. Plant the seeds that hold future promise,” said Tier.
Father Phillip C. Pfleger, pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Marlton, celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass May 28 in the school’s courtyard. In his homily, Father Pfleger reminded the graduates to keep God within themselves and as an important part of their journey through life.
“Keeping God within us lets us be more of the people we are supposed to be,” he said, adding, “Keep learning, not just about the things of this world, but the things about God which will live forever.”
Holy Cross Academy principal, Dennis Guida, thanked the parents and families of the graduates for their support of the school over the years. “This class has done great things academically, in athletics, service and the arts,” he said. More than $15.4 million in scholarships and grants was awarded to the class of 2015 members.
Maria Vittese, whose youngest daughter, Norina, rounds out a long family legacy of Holy Cross graduates, called the commencement “bittersweet. It’s been a very positive experience. We’ve been really blessed.”
Norina said the graduation filled her with a “feeling of accomplishment. I am getting ready to go off to the real world,” she said. “I’ve always felt loved here, and I made great friends.”
Diane and Frank Paradise, who were celebrating the graduation of their youngest child, Matthew, expressed pride at their son’s accomplishments. “He worked very hard,” Diane said. “It has been a very good experience. We are very proud of him.”
Matthew agreed. “It’s been a place where I’ve been able to shine,” he said.
Fellow graduate Collin Timken is also looking forward to the next chapter in his life, but said his stint at Holy Cross “has been one of the best times in my life.”