Nine students graduated from Most Precious Blood School during an in-person graduation ceremony on Saturday at Most Precious Blood Parish in Walden.
This year’s graduates were Owen Barrett, Mary Barry, Olivia Harrison, Anthony Mentore, Alexandra Mindt, Julia Napoli, Magdalena Regenauer, Piper Ruddy and Natalia Sweat.
Though it was an in-person ceremony there were plenty of restrictions. Graduates were forced to social distance during the processional and recessional. All attendees wore masks during the ceremony. The church was only allowed to be at 25 percent capacity for the event per Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s guidelines. Despite the challenges that were put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Father Thomas Colucci and the school’s staff honored the graduates for all of their hard work.
“So on this wonderful day you should be congratulated that you have persevered academically and after all spiritually in your lives,” Colucci said.
The graduates not only persevered academically through their time at the school, they excelled. Seven of the nine graduates earned honor medals at graduation for maintaining an average of 90 percent or above for all four marking periods. This year’s recipients were Owen Barrett, Mary Barry, Olivia Harrison, Anthony Mentore, Julia Napoli, Magdalena Regenauer and Piper Ruddy. These students were members of the National Junior Honor Society, which recognizes outstanding middle level students. Anthony Mentore and Julia Napoli also received perfect scores on the Math Common Core New York State test.
The gold award was given to Magdalena Regenauer, as she had the highest overall average.
Julia Napoli and Marry Barry earned the silver and bronze awards for having the second and third best overall averages in the class.
Not only did the graduates show commitment to their academics, they also showed devotion to their faith. Mary Barry was awarded a religion certificate for showing consistent devotion and passion for learning about Catholicism. Owen Barrett, Olivia Harrison, Julia Napoli, Magdalena Regenauer and Piper Ruddy received the Catholic Education Award for perseverance awarded to students who have attended Most Precious Blood School for at least two full years and are in pursuit of continued Catholic education at an Archdiocesan High School.
The five students matriculating to Catholic high schools are receiving a grand total of $33,000 in scholarship money.
In addition to awards, students received their class rings as well as the book “Seuss-isms! A Guide to Life for Those Just Starting Out...and Those Already on Their Way.”
“‘Just keep swimming’ was a quote chosen by one of our graduates this year. It is so important that adults and adolescents continue to learn, even from literature that is geared toward those younger than we are,” said Principal Woodrow Hallaway. “That is why I offer as my gift to the eighth grade the book Seuss-isms. It is a highlight reel of wise sayings and I know there will be something in that book for everyone.”
Hallaway also noted that the class handled distance learning very well. They continued to do exceptional work despite the difficult circumstances. The group was incredibly caring and kind toward one another, which set a good example for younger students.
“Eighth grade, you have checked all the boxes and you move on to greater things in a still changing world,” Hallaway said. “I know that you will make us proud! Again, God bless you all!”