May 30, 2016
As we come to the end of another school year, the graduating seniors of the Class of 2016 have the opportunity to look back and take stock of the ways they have grown over the past four or five years.
Certainly many of these young men will look to The Profile of a Graduate at the Time of Graduation to assist them in their reflection. And most will come to realize that they have grown as men who are Open to Growth, Intellectually Competent, Religious, Loving, and Committed to Doing Justice.
As I look back over the school year, I recall many examples of how this graduating class excelled in all areas of student life.
Academically, the class of 2016 produced 43 National Merit Semifinalists, 22 Commended in the National Merit Program, and 8 National Hispanic Scholars. Fifteen seniors received the Blue Jay Parents’ Club Award for Excellence in Scholarship (highest GPA), two students achieved a perfect score on the ACT, and collectively the class earned millions of dollars in college scholarships.
On the playing field they led our teams to district titles in cross country, swimming, soccer, golf, tennis, and beach volleyball; state runner-up honors in swimming, wrestling, rugby, and Ultimate Frisbee; and state championships in cross country, tennis, and lacrosse. Furthermore, 19 of these athletic Blue Jays were named to the LHSAA composite all-academic team for various sports.
The Class of 2016 led the way in the achievements of other co-curricular activities. These young men filled key roles in the Philelectic Society as they impressed audiences with several outstanding performances while the Blue Jay Band received Superior and Excellent ratings in their District Marching Festival. Additionally, they led the debate, quiz bowl, chess, and robotics teams to state championships.
In terms of their spiritual development, 50 of these young men volunteered to staff six Kairos retreats as retreat leaders; and many took time out of their busy schedules to attend a senior silent retreat. This past fall several members of student ministry made the trip to Philadelphia to greet Pope Francis. And this past winter the student Sodality joined with the Class of 1984 in a coat drive through which they collected more than 1,000 articles for donation to the Harry Tompson Center.
Ultimately, what is most impressive about the Class of 2016 is their commitment to service. Over the course of their Jesuit careers, they performed more than 30,000 hours of community service. They tutored low-income children, provided companionship to the elderly, and assisted the homeless and disabled. They rebuilt blighted homes across the city, and they fed dozens of families every Thanksgiving. Additionally, many seniors sacrificed countless hours after school this year to assist new Blue Jays with their school work as part of the Academic Support Program. These young men showed the Jesuit community that they truly understand what it means to be a man for others.
It is my hope that these experiences have helped these young men to grow and to realize their potential for success as they go out into the world. Ultimately, as I look back on this past school year and think about the Class of 2016, I am reminded of what Connor Maheu stated in his valedictory speech: “Jesuit High School will never really leave us. The values and ideals that we have learned here will remain with us forever.”
Peter S. Kernion, M.Ed., ’90