Graduation Weekend 2010
by Dr. Joseph D. Hollowell, 12 mos ago
At our baccalaureate service we announced that the Class of 2010 was awarded a new record total of $14,167,00 in merit-based scholarships. This is not only a testament to the work of our students and teachers but also affirmation that the foresight of our board in approving the establishment our college counseling position is bearing much fruit. In the three years prior to establishing this position, the total scholarships our students were qualifying for was less than $7,500,000. To have grown this number to over $14,000,000 in a two year period should make us feel good about our role as stewards of the investment this community puts in Roncalli.
At graduation we saw 270 young people walk across the stage to receive their diploma from Monsignor Schaedel. We had our warmest day since we moved the graduation outdoors two years ago. We are looking into starting the service an hour earlier next year to avoid some of the potential heat. Sr. James Michael Kesterson was honored with the Pope John XXIII Award for her 42 years of service as a South Deanery Principal both at Our Lady of the Greenwood and at St. Jude. In all, Sister has served the Sisters of Providence for 62 years of her life! Sister is the 11th winner of this award.
Finally, we chose the occasion to honor Fr. Jim Wilmoth with the gift of a new car. As most of you know, during this Year of the Priest, the National Catholic Educational Association decided to select 10 priests from across the country to receive its first ever NCEA Distinguished Pastor Award. As you may have read on the front page of the Criterion a month or so ago, Father was one of the priests selected (out of nearly 10,000 in the country) to receive this honor!!! We truly do have one of the all-time best!! Father has refused to take a dime from us for his work at Roncalli over the past four years saving us over $50,000 during that time. I knew someday we would try to pay him back and was happy to take this opportunity to do so. Someone said to me "Aren't you afraid of establishing an expensive tradition by giving away a car?" I said, "No. We'll do it again if we ever have someone work for free for four years and then be named one of the top 10 pastors in the country!"
We completed the day by ringing our new bell in the recently completed Chapel of the Sacred Heart as our graduates filed out of the stadium. It was a glorious sound - especially for our newest members of the Golden Guard - the Sacred Heart Class of 1960. They loved the chapel and were really impressed to be remembered for the legacy which they have passed on to us.
If you have not already done so, please join me in congratulating our graduates, our Golden Guard, Sr. James Michael, and Father Wilmoth. They are worthy of our thanks and, truly, they are cause to celebrate.
God bless you for your work in support of our mission. We are truly blessed to be in a community that puts such value on Catholic education!