Holy Cross graduates exhorted to 'work hard and achieve your goals'
As proud parents, Mike and Donna Bonner were delighted to see their eldest son, Sean Michael, graduate from Holy Cross High School, Delran, on June 4.
But the Bonners were also thrilled because, that evening, they also celebrated the milestone of having three generations of family members receive diplomas from Burlington County’s only Catholic high school; a school that has provided a well structured environment and sound foundation both academically and in the Catholic faith.
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“It’s become the tradition for our family to go to Holy Cross,” said Donna (Heether) Bonner, ‘83, who noted that her mother, Veronica Kelestyn Heether, was in the school’s first graduating class in 1961.
“We would not send our kids anywhere else,” said Mike Bonner, ‘84.
Besides the June 4 commencement ceremony at which 187 students were awarded diplomas, another graduation highlight was the May 31 Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by Father Douglas Freer, diocesan vicar for Catholic education.
In his homily, Father Freer implored the students to thank their families – parents and even grandparents – “who made it possible” for them to receive the gift of a Catholic education.
“What we celebrate tonight makes us unique in a secular society, because we, as the community of Holy Cross High School, can gather and share the ultimate thanksgiving, the Eucharist, in thanks for the gifts that each of you have received and fostered during your time here,” he said.
Referring to Mary’s Magnificat, her song of praise professing unwavering faith in God, as “truly words to live by,” Father Freer reminded the Class of 2012 that even though they are leaving their Catholic school setting, they should continue to live and practice their Catholic faith in the future.
“The foundation has been laid, but now the practice of your faith will be up to you,” said Father Freer. “Let me just say that in whatever path you choose, if you stay close to God, and close to his Body, the Church, you will succeed. I am convinced that those who try to go it alone never do as well as those who stay grounded in Christ and his Church.”
Three days after the Baccalaureate Mass, graduates, their families and friends reconvened in the Delran school for the 52nd commencement ceremony which included an invocation by Msgr. Richard Tofani, episcopal vicar of Burlington County, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Hainesport, and a 1969 Holy Cross graduate; addresses by salutatorian Scott Thomas Lafferty and valedictorian Daniel Eduardo Dores, and the conferring of the diplomas to the Class of 2012 by Dennis Guida, principal, and JoAnn Tier, diocesan superintendent of Catholic education and member of the graduating class of 1964.
For the second year, the school upheld its new tradition of acknowledging those graduates from 50 years ago (Class of 1962) who were in attendance. The evening had a bittersweet note when it was announced that faculty member Tom Camp will retire after his 44 years of service to the school.
Salutatorian Lafferty reflected on the “great milestone” the graduation ceremony marked in the lives of his fellow classmates. And, “it is also our greatest opportunity to date,” he said. “Commencement is an event that lies directly between our childhood and our adulthood...It is difficult to believe that we are here for our graduation tonight.”
Referring to the many challenges students face during their four years of study and preparation for college, the workforce or in making a decision to enter the military, Lafferty was honest when he said that “high school wasn’t always easy.”
But, “the class of 2012 has been a great class,” Lafferty said. “We have grown, matured, learned, all the while having fun.”
As a last word of encouragement Lafferty exhorted his fellow classmates to “make the best of every opportunity that you will face in the future.” “Work hard and achieve your goals,” he said.[[In-content Ad]]