PROVIDENCE– Members of the graduating class of St. Mary Academy-Bay View were inspired to be beacons of hope in an often darkened world during commencement ceremonies held June 4 at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
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“The twinkling of the stars which drew our gaze as children still captivates us and now takes on a new meaning. Lying on a blanket staring at the midnight sky, you can look at the stars and imagine your dreams. Your eyes focus on the star furthest away that symbolizes your most far-fetched dream. That single most important dream is important to not forget. The dream that comes to mind is unique for each of us; it might range from being a lawyer to a mother to Miss USA.”
Valedictorian Taylor Jackvony told her classmates that to get to one’s “star” each person needs a team of people who are taking the same journey, just as an astronaut would. “In reaching for the stars, we have the supportive crew of our parents, teachers, and guidance counselors. We also have the friends who have studied, danced, and prayed with us. But now, to reach our individual stars, we must go our separate ways. We must reach for the stars, and we must be stars. We must be leaders, lights to those who have lost their way, and be examples of justice and mercy. Never be afraid to reach for the stars, and know our fellow astronauts will be with us along the way.”
Jackvony, who will study biology at Williams College, was most inspired by science teacher Dr. Janell Johnson.
Mercy Sister Elizabeth McAuliffe, president of the all girls’ school, reminded the 104 graduates of Psalm 33: “Blessed be the people God has chosen to be his own.” You are each chosen. From before time began, you were chosen by God. God had a dream for you. As Mary Jo Leddy said in “Radical Gratitude”: ‘It makes all the difference in the world to believe that the dream of God for the world is going to happen.’ I ask the class of 2012: Do you believe in the power of your own dreams? Do you trust in the providence of God? I leave you with two tasks: the first is to find a way to educate a girl so that her dreams can come true. The second is to make gratitude a way of life.”
“My challenge to you is to bring all the values you learned at home and at Bay View to all you will meet in the future,” charged Mercy Sister Lindora Cabral, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Northeast Community.
“Graduation is only the beginning. Have courage to change things for the better, follow your dreams, and always do the right thing. Follow your heart. In the final analysis it is between you and God. Reach for the stars, class of 2012!”
Having opened with a masterful medley of songs, the Bay View Chorale closed the event with the Alma Mater’s song, followed by the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Campus Minister Mercy Elizabeth Hathaway then directed the congregation in joining in the blessing of the graduates, with everyone extending their right hands towards the exiting class. “Open yourselves to the presence of the Holy One. Let God’s love flow from you into their hearts. As Langston Hughes said in his poem ‘Theme for English B’: ‘Go home and write / a page tonight. And let that page come out of you. Then it will be true.’ God has given you all the gifts you need to succeed in life.”
While the graduates were happy to be embarking on new and exciting journeys, commencement was also tinged with a bit of sadness.
“I’m really going to miss my friends,” says Brittany Amaral, who is looking forward to attending the University of Rhode Island and grateful for the excellent education she received at Bay View.
Bay View Class of 2012
Yee Jung Kim
Alexia Malone Oliver