School: St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy
Graduating class: 2016
Number of graduates: 35
Colors: School colors are blue and orange. The boys wore blue caps and gowns, while the girls wore white caps and gowns. Tassels were gold, with a gold 2016 medallion.
Principal: Chris Chirieleison
Where: Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, Penn State
Student speakers: Michael Forstmeier, Jake Griggs and Lizzy Traband
Keynote speaker: Christian Brady, dean of Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College
Also in attendance: Bishop Mark Bartchak, Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
Funny moment: Brady started singing the 1986 hit “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister. Lyrics “Kyrie Eleison,” meaning “Lord, have mercy upon us,” have a similar pronunciation to the principal’s last name. Brady incorporated the song and its lyrics humorously in a speech that focused on how unexpected paths and failures in life can guide people in a positive direction they might not see coming. He said all challenges will eventually be worth it, like the phrase Kyrie Eleison, “Let the Lord have mercy on your travels,” Brady said at the end of his speech.
Favorite memories: Charles Ross, 18, plans to attend Allegheny College to study community and justice studies, and black studies. Of all things at St. Joe’s, he said he’ll miss “chilling” with friends at lunch. “You see these guys all the time, and they made it a lot of fun in and out of class,” Ross said. “It’s a small, tight-knit group that I’m really thankful for.”
Graduation memories: Olivia Magro, 17, will attend Penn State in the summer to study forensics, and hopes to have a minor in a music-related field. She said high school graduation is “bittersweet.” “The whole week was emotional, but it didn’t sink in that this was it until we practiced yesterday (Friday),” she said. “I think I’ll just miss going to class and seeing everyone the most.”
Tips for underclassmen: Eli Urban, 17, said St. Joe’s provides students with the resources to succeed. “You just have to take advantage of them,” he said. “I just urge them to apply themselves with whatever they do, and they can fulfill whatever they desire to do.” Urban will attend St. Vincent College in the fall. He has yet to decide on his major, but is leaning toward a communication degree. He will also run track and cross-country for the university.