Saint Raphael Academy Class of 2020 Honored
August 3, 2020
Saint Raphael Academy’s Class of 2020 was honored with a small prayer service at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on Sunday in celebration of the 93rd commencement, officially recognizing the 121 members of the class and marking the end of a tumultuous senior year.
Seniors sat with two family members, masked and socially distanced from others according to rules allowed for churches during the pandemic. The event was live-streamed on social media for families and friends to view. It was the first time in five months that the students gathered together as a class.
Judy Baxter, vice principal of academics, recognized the Excellence and Next-in-Merit Award winners, and Distinguished Awards, including Moore Scholars, Outstanding Service Awards and Saints Angel Awards. (listed below).
The Class of 2020 heard speeches from salutatorian Jeanna Bateman and valedictorian Stephanie Murphy. Jeanna spoke about how the Saints family is an unbroken bond.
“No matter what is ahead, what was behind has taught us all we need to know,” she said. “Even though this is the end of high school for us, it is not the end of the bonds we formed there. Like a family, even when physically apart, we can still be together. Our recent experiences prove that separation cannot stop us. We will never be truly apart. Even years down the road, we will still be family.”
In her speech, Stephanie compared the journey through high school like a walk down Walcott Street. “Although COVID-19 cut our walk down Walcott Street short, these circumstances do not take away our accomplishments. If we have learned anything from the past few months, it would be that life is unpredictable. We sometimes do not have control over where life takes us, but we have control over how we allow it to affect us. We control our attitudes and outlooks on a situation,” she said.
Dan Richard, principal, acknowledged how difficult this year has been for seniors. “The COVID-19 virus has impacted all of us. My question to the 121 SRA graduates is, ‘How has it changed you?’ It is my hope that you will take all the lessons you have learned at Saint Raphael Academy and change the world.” Describing the unlimited potential he saw in the class, he continued, “I hear all the time, we need to get back to normal … I am asking all of you to step up and get us back to BETTER!”
Concluding his speech, Mr. Richard presented the Edith Peck Memorial Award, the Academy’s highest award, to Colby Luiz. This award recognizes dedication to academics, service to others and leadership within the school and the community, and reflects the Catholic-Lasallian identity of faith, service and community.
After a final blessing from Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans, graduates and guests drove to Saint Raphael Academy, and accepted their diplomas in a car parade down Walcott Street, where faculty and staff lined the street six feet apart to wave farewell one last time.