While graduation day is viewed as the moment teens pass into a new phase of their lives, the valedictorian of the Class of 2016 at St. Joseph High School acknowledged it as the end of a stage.

“Today isn’t the day where we instantly transform from children into adults,” Matthew J. Cenci said to his classmates on June 4. “Instead, that transition has come gradually over the last four years. I say gradually because there’s really no specific days that I can pick out where anything changed drastically. In fact, aside from a few events, most school days are pretty uneventful. But, to paraphrase, while it may seem like we do nothing each day, we are in fact doing something.”

Cenci was the highest ranked of the 216 Cadets who received diplomas on Dalling Field.

Nicholas Maltese was salutatorian.

Delivering his farewell address during the graduation ceremony, Cenci said, “We rarely acknowledge the small events that make up our lives. We celebrate the championship game and ignore the practices. We might be tempted to celebrate our graduation and forget about the 724 days of school that have lead up to this moment. In reality, today is just a milestone to celebrate the day by day moments that have defined our high school experience.”

“This St. Joe’s family has helped raise you and in the process this community has come to love you,” Principal James Keane said. “That love has given you the confidence and character to go out and make the world a better place.

“Every family has a home and I want you to know, I want you to feel in your bones, that this is your home,” Keane added. “And you never really ever leave home.”

Still, St. Joe’s President Dr. William Fitzgerald acknowledged that a transition was taking place during commencement.

“... when you walk off this field, you will never, ever be together again in the same way you are today,” Fitzgerald. “Before you go, think about what you have done for St Joe’s.”