Graduation: La Salle Academy

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PROVIDENCE — A steady rain that began to fall did little to dampen the spirits of the 338 members of La Salle Academy’s Class of 2016 as they made their way into the Providence Performing Arts Center on June 8 for their graduation exercises.

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As family and friends applauded from both the upper and lower levels of the grand theater, the grads made their way down to the center aisle to the strands of “Pomp and Circumstance” played on PPAC’s 1927 mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ.

In delivering the welcome address, graduating senior Mason J. Bernard spoke of how the Lasallian principles of compassion, empathy and generosity instilled in them through their education have prepared them for their next mission in life.

“This mission is a calling to further our Catholic identity and further our relationship with Jesus Christ by using our education as a tool of service,” Bernard said. “To say it simply: Enter to learn, leave to serve. This phrase embodies the meaning of the Lasallian mission — the calling to respect education and use our knowledge to help those who are less fortunate.”

Allison R. Paul, who will attend Harvard University this fall, delivered the student address, in which she equated the collective journey she and her classmates have undertaken during the last four years to a whitewater rafting trip that Principal Donald J. Kavanagh has enthusiastically referenced through the years as a teaching opportunity.

“We are going to lose the safety of our raft once we leave La Salle and enter the huge body of water that is the adult world,” Paul said. “But, it is our strong faith, our dedication to service and our sense of community that will guide us in these sometimes troubled waters. Our Catholic, Lasallian education will shine like a light in the darkness, reminding us of our faith, and guiding us to get out of our comfort zones and change the world.”