St. Joseph’s Academy hosted the Celebration of the Eucharist for Pentecost Sunday and 141st Commencement Exercises on May 20 at Raising Cane’s River Center. The 258 members of the class of 2018 met all standards for graduation as prescribed by the Academy and were awarded a diploma. Seventy-two percent of the class earned $24.1 million in scholarships. (This figure does not include TOPS awards, which have yet to be determined.)
Emrey Broyles, salutatorian, welcomed the large crowd and noted SJA’s strong foundation of friends and alumnae around the world. Commentator Kennedy Walker acknowledged Bishop Robert W. Muench, who celebrated the mass, and other priests and deacons in the Diocese of Baton Rouge who joined the graduates for the celebration.
Mallory Casseri read from the Acts of the Apostles, and Madeline Lemoine read from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.
In his homily, Bishop Muench reflected on the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph and their founding of St. Joseph’s Academy in 1868. He asked the Sisters in attendance to stand and be recognized for all they have done to educate young women in Baton Rouge for nearly 150 years.
He told the graduating class that their diploma awards their diligence and persistence. “We have faith and confidence you will forever makes us proud of you in your future endeavors and in our shared call to eternal life,” he said.
Camille Lanata and Carley Dugas led the prayers of the faithful.
Following mass, English faculty member Jill Abadie called forth the graduates of 2018. Diplomas were awarded by Principal Stacia Andricain assisted by SJA President Jan Rhorer Breen, Dean of Women Aubrey DeJohn and Dean of Academics Dr. Jason Hanks.
Following the conferring of diplomas, valedictorian Lauren Chauvin talked about the future ahead of each of her classmates. “Perhaps instead of focusing solely on what career we’re going to pursue, maybe we should think about what kind of character we’re going to cultivate,” she said. “Let’s not forget that, as important as greatness is, it is our goodness that will be the most rewarding. Through God and faith and through the genuine understanding of others, we can touch people in a way that makes just as worthy an impact on the world around us as the success of landing your dream job or getting a raise.”
Breen reflected on the possibilities which await the class of 2018. She offered four pieces of advice: Remember you are an SJA woman; listen to your inner voice; understand the meaning of success; and carefully consider each choice you make.
“Today is an end, and today is a beginning,” she said. “You leave as women for others who walk together in hope, who celebrate the gifts of each other, who live serving the dear neighbor, who know the importance of forgiving, who welcome differences and who strive to bring peace and hope to the world.”
Colleen Lovretich served as cantor. Lending their vocal talents to the ceremony was the SJA Women’s Choir. They were under the direction of Stephen Galliano and Mark Primeaux-Redmond. Accompanists were Louis Wendt, keyboard, and Craig Heinzen, trumpet.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine, Erin Albarado and Sara Rounds