Last Wednesday was a first for many in the Hendricken community: for the principal, the school president and the entire 2019 class that is now embarking upon a new path in their lives. Two hundred and eighteen Hendricken boys made their way to the alter at the Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul where they received their long-awaited diplomas and gratification at making it through high school.
“Today you are all united by class through graduation and what a special graduating class it is,” said Mark DeCiccio, in his inaugural graduation address as Principal of Hendricken. He is a graduate of the high school in 2003.
Father Robert Marciano, who is serving his first year as Bishop Hendricken’s president, graduated from the high school in 1975 and is back to see students through whatever they may face. Fr. Marciano recollected the experience of the Bishop Thomas Francis Hendricken.
“Although he lived a long time ago, in what seems to be a different world, the situation of his life and mission and yours are linked,” said Marciano. “He handed on to us, and every generation that followed him, the task of faithful service to God and to others.”
Many of the 2019 graduates will move on to college. Some will take a gap year. Some will forgo college altogether. But, whatever path a Hendricken student follows, he’ll be sure to excel and “affect others and shape the community and the world,” said 2019 Valedictorian Michael Del Sesto.
The clear theme at the Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul was people. The people who influenced the students’ lives; who sacrificed so much to see their children succeed; who thought day in and day out about how to improve the learning environment to prepare students for the rest of their lives.
Co-Salutatorian Ryan Brinton gave thanks to his parents for supporting him and sacrificing so much to see him through a critical period of development. He went on to praise his fellow classmates.
“I have thought a lot about what I want to preserve about my time at Hendricken, and what really was important. And it’s kind of ironic. We spent most of our time in the classroom, and yet I think that is what I’m going to remember least,” said Brinton. Instead, “I am going to remember the people I met in those classes, the people who I spent at least six hours a day with.”
Not just his fellow graduates, but the things his fellow graduates can do in their future, what they can do for each other, stood out in the Valedictorian’s speech. “We have many super stars at Hendricken. However, everyone on a team or in a club knows that it is the work of every single member that plays a role in success. That is true of Bishop Hendricken High School. Every single member of the class of 2019 has played a distinct role in shaping our successes, the high school, and each other,” said Del Sesto.
A prime example of a student embodying the Hendricken way is Brian Schattle, Hendricken’s 2019 Man of the Year. With lots of community service hours, top 10 academic standing in his class, and a member of three sports teams at Hendricken, Schattle has taken advantage of his opportunities. He will be attending Loyola University. Also in the running for Man of the Year were Israel Emmanuel, Matthew Hajjar and Nathan Williams.
Del Sesto went on to say the most important thing going forward is what he and his classmates can do for each other and everyone they encounter along the journey of life. Challenges will be faced head on, and they will be overcome. “If we carry the spirit of Hendricken with us, we can overcome these difficulties. We will continue to succeed if we continue to remember the message Hendricken has taught us: to live for others and value their presence.”
Father Marciano left the class of 2019 with words he hoped would inspire. “Our efforts these years, the sacrifice and example of your parents, the hard work of your teachers and coaches, and the prayers of so many of our friends and benefactors, have set you on a course for the future, and now it is your time to set sail for distant shores and lives of promise.”