Class of 2023 urged to set high future goals, remain close to God

June 22, 2023 at 4:34 p.m.
Class of 2023 urged to set high future goals, remain close to God
Class of 2023 urged to set high future goals, remain close to God

By Dorothy K. LaMantia • Correspondent

On June 5, 166 seniors of Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River, processed into St. Joseph Church for their commencement as the Class of 2023.  

The day before, the class, with families and friends, attended the Baccalaureate Mass, concelebrated by St. Joseph’s pastor Father Scott Shaffer, and Msgr. Kenard Tuzeneu, pastor of St. Mary  Parish, Barnegat.

Speaking from the Readings for Trinity Sunday, Father Shaffer addressed the graduates, “God is love … You have been called into the family of God.  I wish you will leave here knowing without a doubt that you are a child of God…You’ll go through difficult times in your life.  I pray you’ll realize that you carry Christ within. Christ is powerful and so is love.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Donovan Catholic Baccalaureate Mass

PHOTO GALLERY: Donovan Catholic Graduation

Before students received their diplomas, nine students received special awards for academic excellence, sportsmanship, character, and service. 

The Class of 2023 was awarded a total of $41,845,300 in scholarships, which will take them to major public and private universities, among them Rutgers, Penn State, Catholic University, Notre Dame, and technical institutions Embry-Riddle Aeronautical and NJ Institute of Technology.  Graduate Maverick Boehm will enter the US Air Force Academy.

Sixteen athletes have signed to play in university athletic programs.

The graduates embodied their senior year theme, “Let Your Light Shine.”  Collectively they donated 4,323 hours to local community efforts, including weekly trips to Seeds of Service, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Head Start and Habitat for Humanity. Senior members of the National Honor Society ran a school-wide blood drive and for their final action as a class, they participated in “Senior Service at Sunset,” to clean a beach in Seaside Park. Sixteen students received Christian Service Awards for going beyond the yearly 100-hour requirement.  Julianna Chesla, Harrison Humphrey, Isaac Lu, and Savannah Mozal won the Gold Award for exceeding 250 service hours.

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 Principal Jillian Kelly challenged the graduates, saying, “Your studies at Donovan Catholic have opened doors for you to make the world a better place for all citizens … Be visionary, set clear goals … Do what no one has done before … question the impossible. Stay rooted to our God; always know He is with you.”

Afterwards, Chesla and her parents, Kevin and Kimberly, reflected on their experience at Donovan Catholic.

Although the pandemic reduced personal contact for two years, “When it went back to normal in September, our first church service was electric!” said Chesla. “We came together and bonded. Our sense of community was back. Here you get to know everyone and bond. It’s a second home. I had one normal year. If given a chance to have four, I’d do it again.”

“Donovan is a high-quality, family-oriented school,” said Kevin. “It’s nice this still exists in today’s educational system.”


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On June 5, 166 seniors of Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River, processed into St. Joseph Church for their commencement as the Class of 2023.  

The day before, the class, with families and friends, attended the Baccalaureate Mass, concelebrated by St. Joseph’s pastor Father Scott Shaffer, and Msgr. Kenard Tuzeneu, pastor of St. Mary  Parish, Barnegat.

Speaking from the Readings for Trinity Sunday, Father Shaffer addressed the graduates, “God is love … You have been called into the family of God.  I wish you will leave here knowing without a doubt that you are a child of God…You’ll go through difficult times in your life.  I pray you’ll realize that you carry Christ within. Christ is powerful and so is love.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Donovan Catholic Baccalaureate Mass

PHOTO GALLERY: Donovan Catholic Graduation

Before students received their diplomas, nine students received special awards for academic excellence, sportsmanship, character, and service. 

The Class of 2023 was awarded a total of $41,845,300 in scholarships, which will take them to major public and private universities, among them Rutgers, Penn State, Catholic University, Notre Dame, and technical institutions Embry-Riddle Aeronautical and NJ Institute of Technology.  Graduate Maverick Boehm will enter the US Air Force Academy.

Sixteen athletes have signed to play in university athletic programs.

The graduates embodied their senior year theme, “Let Your Light Shine.”  Collectively they donated 4,323 hours to local community efforts, including weekly trips to Seeds of Service, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Head Start and Habitat for Humanity. Senior members of the National Honor Society ran a school-wide blood drive and for their final action as a class, they participated in “Senior Service at Sunset,” to clean a beach in Seaside Park. Sixteen students received Christian Service Awards for going beyond the yearly 100-hour requirement.  Julianna Chesla, Harrison Humphrey, Isaac Lu, and Savannah Mozal won the Gold Award for exceeding 250 service hours.

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 Principal Jillian Kelly challenged the graduates, saying, “Your studies at Donovan Catholic have opened doors for you to make the world a better place for all citizens … Be visionary, set clear goals … Do what no one has done before … question the impossible. Stay rooted to our God; always know He is with you.”

Afterwards, Chesla and her parents, Kevin and Kimberly, reflected on their experience at Donovan Catholic.

Although the pandemic reduced personal contact for two years, “When it went back to normal in September, our first church service was electric!” said Chesla. “We came together and bonded. Our sense of community was back. Here you get to know everyone and bond. It’s a second home. I had one normal year. If given a chance to have four, I’d do it again.”

“Donovan is a high-quality, family-oriented school,” said Kevin. “It’s nice this still exists in today’s educational system.”

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