A Class of Future Gyrenes (and One Cardinal) Head To College
On the morning of May 26, with the opening wails of the bagpipe, the Sixteenth Annual Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Exercises began. Led by piper Principal Dan Guernsey and surrounded by a congregation of family, friends, parishioners, and the student body, the 18 members of the class of 2023 walked up the nave of Ave Maria Church, each holding a white rose for the Blessed Mother in gratitude for her love and guidance that brought them to this momentous occasion.
Mass was celebrated by Reverend Bishop Frank J. Dewane and concelebrants Fr. John Belmonte, S.J., Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Venice, and Fr. David Vidal. Bishop Dewane congratulated the graduates on their achievements and exhorted them to bring the light of their faith into college and the adult world they are now entering.
Commencement Exercises followed immediately after Mass in the Donahue gym. Michael Long, Salutatorian, spoke about Donahue’s deep spiritual formation of its students, and the fact that our achievements mean nothing without love. Quoting St. Paul, he called the graduates to love, and to become saints. Valedictorian Andrew Graham spoke about Kenyan long-distance runner and inspiration Eliud Kipchoge, who strives to never waste a moment of the day. He called the graduates to embrace greatness and to make the most of the gifts they have been given, including their Donahue education.
Principal Dan Guernsey, in his final Commencement address before he steps down as principal, took the opportunity to speak on the foundation of the Catholic, classical education at Donahue: the True, the Good and the Beautiful, emphasizing their importance in countering a secular culture that no longer values them.
This talented group of students earned many awards, scholarships (a total of $1,929,144) and honors. Graduating summa cum laude were: Joseph Cooper, Andrew Graham, Martina Licheri Bondesio, Michael Long, Andres Plata, Faith Romero and Nicole Varadan. Magna Cum Laude graduates were Gianna Carletta and Thomas Patterson. Notably, every member of the class of 2023 will be attending a Catholic college. For 17 members of the class, their choice will be Ave Maria University, pursuing a variety of degrees including biochemistry, computer science, economics, finance, physics, and theology, among others. Nicole Varadan stood out as the lone member of the class to choose to leave Ave Maria. She will be attending Catholic University of America to study nursing.
The entire Donahue family wishes the Class of 2023 many blessings as they commence their college careers.