Mightily-tested SJV graduates move forward with resiliency, strength, faith
On the morning of June 3, St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, held its 51st annual commencement ceremony at Brookdale Community College’s Collins Arena, Lincroft, for 221 graduating seniors. The Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated June 1 in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, with Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., as principal celebrant and homilist.
In a sea of gold, graduates processed into the arena. Senior Samantha Yanarelli proudly sang the national anthem.
PHOTO GALLERY: St. John Vianney High's Baccalaureate Mass
PHOTO GALLERY: St. John Vianney High's Graduation
Father Thomas Vala, pastor of St. Clement Parish, Matawan, spoke of the “moment of blessedness” that the students had worked hard to achieve. Principal Margaret Kane echoed Father Vala’s poignant remembrance of senior Lauren Hewski, who was killed in a car accident on May 11. She acknowledged the strength and resilience of St. John Vianney’s class of 2023 which was mightily tested.
Among the accomplishments of the Class of 2023 is the awarding of college scholarships totaling more than $33.5 million. Graduates also performed more than 9,100 service hours. Thirty-two students graduated from the Early College Academy, which provides the opportunity for select students to earn an Associate of Arts in Social Sciences or Associate of Science in Computer Science from Brookdale Community College while earning their high school diploma.
President Steven C. DiMezza’s commencement address, applauded a “resilient and remarkable class.” He reminded students that their lives should be “fueled by faith and courage … in times of darkness we turn to our faith.” For this class, which has learned all too early that “life is fragile and unpredictable … above all, nurture your faith.”
DiMezza recalled the courage of senior Aaron R. Van Trease, whose life-changing injuries were incurred during a September 2022 SJV football game. In the most memorable moment of the commencement ceremony, Aaron received his diploma amidst cheers and jubilation for his courage and accomplishment.
The legacy of SJV traditions was also celebrated, with members of the class of 1973 present to welcome the newest alumni. Additionally, 12 students were awarded diplomas by their parents, who are also graduates of SJV. Three of these students have two parents who are alumni.
Theresa Militello has two daughters who are now SJV graduates, Olivia in the class of 2023 and Alyssa from the class of 2019. Speaking of SJV’s distinction she said, “My husband Anthony and I are very happy that SJV follows family values and Christ. When SJV says, ‘mind, body, spirit,’ they really emphasize each one. They get the best out of students as a whole person.”