They came as young people but they left as young adults.
St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy hosted its second graduation at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on Saturday. The ceremony was the first featuring graduates who have attended the school for four years.
Clad in the traditional cap and gown the 32 graduates filed into the front rows of the spiritual center as friends and family looked on.
“Several of you have been here from the beginning, which I’m sure makes this day very special for you,” Principal Chris Chirieleison said.
Chirieleison stressed how the school’s four pillars of faith, scholarship, leadership and service had helped prepare the students for life outside of the school walls, a theme further developed by soon-to-be graduate Holly Mangan.
Addressing the crowd of students and well-wishers, Mangan spoke about all that the Class of 2015 had accomplished in four years at St. Joseph’s, achievements made primarily in the realms of charity and community service.
“Leaving home is so bittersweet and I don’t know about the rest of my classmates but I feel so lucky to have spent the past four years in a place that felt like home,” Mangan said.
Mangan was followed by guest speaker Sue Paterno.
Paterno invited a round of applause for the parents and teachers who had helped the graduates to reach this milestone.
She stressed that 100 percent of the Class of 2015 would be continuing their education and offered the students some advice.
“Always remember who you are and who you want to be because in the end you must make decisions that reflect who you want to be,” Paterno said.
Graduate Kelly Jedrzejewski, the final student speaker, also offered her peers a pearl of wisdom.
“Life is a gift, a precious adventure to be lived fully,” Jedrzejewski said.