Sun shines on St. Joseph grads

The sun had just begun to crack through the clouds as the St. Joseph High School Class of 2017 flipped their tassels and celebrated a new chapter in their lives.

One hundred and eighty three students graduated on June 3, marking the high school’s 52nd commencement ceremony.

Grace Scully, the salutatorian of her class, praised the diversity of interests and pursuits of her classmates. Scully is a scholar and athlete herself, making the presidential scholarship and varsity letters for the swim team all four years of school.

“Whatever passions we followed in high school they have shaped our four years here and will help to shape our futures,” Scully said. “These differences are what make us unique and they are what bring us together, they allow us to be true to ourselves, succeed in anything we put our minds to and better each other. Our differences make our class great and they have taught me more than I could have imagined.”

From the University of Connecticut to West Virginia, St. Joseph President William Fitzgerald congratulated the class on their achievements and where their journey would take them. He cited the track team breaking 20 school records this season, as well as the $19 million raised in grants and scholarships.

"This is a class that knows where it is going and what it hopes to accomplish,” said Fitzgerald. “I do hope you will stay in touch and I hope you will continue to talk to adults, meaningful things happen when generations talk across cultural boundaries."

Michael Rosati, who received the Victoria Soto Memorial Scholarship, named after a teacher killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting, was happy and reminiscent of time well spent at St. Joseph.

“I’m very excited, I’m sad to leave behind St. Joes but I know I made a lot of memories that I’m going to carry with me and I’m excited for the next chapter of my life,” said Rosatoi.

He will be going on to study elementary and special education at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island.

Also present at the ceremony was First Selectman Timothy Herbst, who after eight years gave his last St. Joseph commencement speech in his position.

"St. Joseph High School has made tremendous gains these last eight years, it's a point of personal pride and privilege and you're a pillar in our community and for that I thank you,” said Herbst.

The last student to speak was valedictorian Erin Welch, she addressed the memories from her education while preparing for the future ahead. Welch will major in biology in the honors program at Boston College.

"The biggest thing that I have learned in these past weeks is that I'm not saying goodbye to one home, I'm saying goodbye to an infinity,” said Welch. “Because I didn't just make a home at St. Joes, I made a home in the people and things that I love."

As the ceremony came to a close the students, diplomas in hand, went out to join their families and friends to enjoy their tremendous accomplishment.