On Monday, May 21st, the Academy of the Holy Names honored the graduation of 77 members of the Class of 2012. This year’s graduating class has much to celebrate. Combined, the class earned nearly $6 million in scholarships; served more than 15,000 community service hours; 100% of the class is college bound; they were accepted into 112 colleges/universities; 36% of the class are members of the National Honor Society; and 60% graduated with honors. The class also gifted the school with a $67,295 endowed scholarship.
President Art Raimo addressed the class and told the students, “My prayer for you today as you graduate is that you will grow into women who will truly make a positive difference in the world, people who take the following words from the Old Testament Book of Micah to heart: You have been told what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God.”
An excerpt from valedictorian Mary Green’s commencement address:
However, the thing that makes the Academy of the Holy Names so special is not its outwards aesthetics, but its people: the administration, which leads us to success; the faculty, which teaches us more than just lessons of books, but lessons of life; the Sisters of the Holy Names, who guide us in our everyday activities to follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ; the alumnae, who encourage the school to keep its traditions alive as it has done for the past 131 years; the parents, who give so much so that their daughters can attend the best school in the area; and of course, the students, who are the reason the Academy was founded. Each of these people help to establish in us the mission the Academy has as a Catholic school.
Of course, we learn the standard math, science, English, history and language classes that any other American high school student would learn. However, we also learn about life itself and what we are called to do with our Academy education. We are called to be leaders of the world, givers of our time and talents, and followers of Christ. Since we are a Catholic school, we take our religion classes as a serious and essential part of the curriculum. The Academy religious education culminates with the two senior year classes, Christian Lifestyles and Social Justice. In Christian Life, the seniors learned how to live our lives under the guidance of Jesus and how to be the best person we can be. We found out what it means to love, to have faith, to be an Academy graduate, and most of all, to be a Christian. In Social Justice, the Class of 2012 shed light on the various problems our world faces today. This may sound a little somber, but we also learned about people like Jean Donovan, Mahatma Gandhi and Dorothy Day, who made a lot of progress in solving these problems. These lessons inspire us to go out into the world and address its concerns, fulfilling our mission as Christians.
Click here to read Mary’s speech in its entirety at Achona online.
An excerpt from salutatorian Josie Little’s commencement address:
I have been pondering the secret behind an Academy education for some time now because I knew I wanted to find a college that was like Academy. I was convinced that if I found a university with a small enough student body then I would have recreated the magic formula that makes this place so uniquely wonderful. But I was wrong. As I procrastinated on my college decision, I realized that what makes AHN so special is that it is a school with a soul. As a Catholic institution, Academy wasn’t simply interested in funneling us into the wonderful colleges that we are about to attend, nor was it interested in leaving our minds unchallenged. Instead, Academy had a vision for us when we did not yet have one for ourselves.
None of our teachers ever lost sight of our true potential. For instance, I once received over four consecutive B-minuses on one particular assignment in one particular class. I became convinced that injustice in America was real, and it was happening to me. But when I finally received an A, I realized that the best gift our teachers have given us was always demanding the best.
Nevertheless, Academy has never been about quizzing us to death or filling us with facts and figures. It exists to educate the whole person and to form individuals who care about the world around us. Before I came here, I didn’t think about the environment. I thought that was dumb. But this school taught me that I was wrong. Through service days, mission trips and religion classes, I know that Academy opened all of our eyes to the need for caring about each other, to question what it really means to be women of faith, and to make the world around us a better place.
Click here to read Josie’s speech in its entirety at Achona online.