CENTRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL Commencement ceremony celebrates 195 graduates
Allentown Central Catholic High School held its 84th commencement ceremony June 7 at Rockne Hall in celebrating the 195 graduates of the Class of 2013.
The graduating class and faculty members processed into Rockne Hall from Mason Auditorium during the band's playing of "Pomp and Circumstance." After the procession was completed, Reverend Allen J. Hoffa, began with an opening prayer and welcomed everyone gathered for the occasion.
The Viking band led "The Star Spangled Banner" and Hoffa then introduced the Salutatorian, Caleb Connelly.
Connelly was presented with the James M. McIntyre Memorial Award in mathematics and the Dr. Frederick J. Tate Award, which is presented to the male scholar-athlete. In his speech, Connelly took the students back to specific memories of their high school careers they shared with one another, including school events, athletic games and classes. He noted this has been their most significant year yet, but there will be tough times going forward.
"When the class of 2013 is faced with hardship, we rise to the occasion," Connelly said. He reminded the students of their passion and dedication, noting they will be ready for the challenges. "So you go out there and fall and you get back up," Connelly said, "because there is nothing a Viking can't do."
Connelly then introduced Principal Dennis Nemes.
Nemes began with how exciting and humbling it has been leading this class as principal. He acknowledged the students, band members, teachers and faculty members. Nemes then recognized a number of significant statistics the class had achieved.
Sixty-three students were members of National Honor Society, which is 33 percent of the class, compared to a national average of 8 to 12 percent. Close to 90 percent of the graduates are going to 4-year colleges, 71 percent participated in athletics and over 90 percent participated in school-related activities. Nemes ended his message acknowledging the graduating students, telling them to be proud of what they accomplished.
"It's been a privilege and a pleasure working with you," Nemes said. "Have a great evening and receive your diplomas with immense pride."
Director of Studies Teresa Costenbader then presented the graduates with their diplomas. After the completion of all the names, the graduates received a standing ovation for their accomplishments.
Vice Principal William Tielman, Jr. then presented 37 academic awards, and announced the list of colleges the graduates will be attending. The class was awarded over $23 million in scholarships, $5 million more than any previous Central Catholic class. Tielman then introduced the Valedictorian, Linda Nguyen.
Nguyen was awarded the John and Diane Sipics Excellence Award, which is given to a graduating student achieving academic excellence. She spoke about an 18-year-old whom she knew that recently passed away from cancer. Despite facing struggles every day, he continued fighting and enjoyed life.
"Life is just a beautiful moment, one right after the other," Nguyen said. "It is our choice to make life beautiful."
She made a metaphor comparing life to the atrium up to the 400 level at Central Catholic, with people pushing and shoving you along the way.
"Life will knock you around, but that shouldn't stop you from where you need to be."
Nguyen ended her speech noting there will be obstacles along the way, but they must overcome those challenges, while also taking the time to celebrate life along the way. "We are strong, we are determined, and we will persevere," Nguyen said.
Hoffa concluded the ceremony with a few remarks for the graduates and the band led the school's Alma Matter. Hoffa ended with thanks to God, and the crowd joined in the "Our Father" prayer.
The students then processed out into Mason Auditorium, and returned to Rockne Hall moments after to celebrate with friends and family members.