Record-setting class graduates St. Joseph

Vic Eng photos
Parents send their children to St. Joseph for a number of reasons, including academics, athletics, and the weaving of religion into their daily academic lives.

But there is another reason to send a child to St. Joseph — it’s a sound investment, according to Head of School William Fitzgerald.

“Parents, four years ago, at Open House, I promised you a return on investment, so here you go,” he said. “This Class of 2018, the smallest at St. Joe’s, has won for themselves $25,729,136 in grants and scholarships to some of the finest schools in the country. That’s a record for St. Joseph High School.”

On Saturday, 178 graduates received their diplomas in a steamy outdoor ceremony. Fitzgerald said 98% of the class would go on to a four-year college in dozens of different states, plus Ireland.

“For the Irish, you gotta love the way this gets reported,” he said. “I’m reading the list: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ireland, Maine, Massachusetts. Ireland’s just slipped in there like it’s

the 51st state. It’s no big deal.”

Salutatorian James Bove quipped that his reward for years of academic effort was painfully appropriate.

“I am honored to be the salutatorian of the Class of 2018, an award so prestigious that I have the absolute pleasure of completing one, final homework assignment: this speech,” he said.

Bove said his goal in writing his speech was to avoid clichés.

“For example, ‘stand up for what you believe in’ is a nice-sounding sentiment, but if what you believed in was, say, the Earth being flat? We’d have a problem. And if I told you to be

just ‘be yourself,’ that’d be problematic if who you are is, say, a Dallas Cowboys fan. In short, I want to avoid these ambiguous, morally relativistic platitudes.”

Instead, Bove embraced his own ignorance.

“No matter what you have experienced in your own lives, there is a comparatively infinitive amount of knowledge, emotion, and perception not yet experienced,” he said. “So much so, in fact, that neither I nor anyone else can ever possibly experience it all in this earthly existence. Yet somehow this fact of my own ignorance excites me more than anything else I can think of.”

“I understand that it may seem bleak or depressing that we can never possibly know everything, but I posit that life would not be worth living if one could know everything.”

And if Bove embraced ignorance, Valedictorian Lavanya Sambaraju embraced the uncertainty of change.

“People fear change. This isn’t a new concept, as many prominent philosophers, thinkers, leaders, and more have reached the same general conclusion,” she said. “Change comes in all shapes and forms, and today, for all of us, this change is coming as the transition from a high school senior to a college freshmen. You might be wondering why I said people fear change, especially since most of us have been screaming ‘college’ the moment we knew where we were going, myself included. However, this change is one that we have been expecting.

“So, while this is a change, it’s a gradual change that we all have been subconsciously preparing for and are now ready to undergo. While some of you may want to argue the opposite, saying that four years, or however many years you were here for, flew by in the blink of an eye and that you simply cannot believe that you are going to college when you were literally a freshman yesterday, the truth is that time has passed like it normally would. We are leaving high school and are going to college. We have known this change was coming for a while. And now it is finally happening.”