Class of 2017 Celebrates Graduation

Jun 05, 2017 | Posted in Articles

The Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Exercises for the OLSH Class of 2017 were held on Sunday, June 4. The day began with the traditional Baccalaureate Mass, celebrated by Fr. Frank Kurimsky, OLSH Chaplain. Graduates and their families enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate Mass together as a whole group for the last time as the OLSH class of 2017.

Shawn Michael Blake, class president, gives his farewell address.

After Mass, guests moved to the OLSH Angela Activities Center for the 83rd annual Commencement Exercises. The graduates processed in to the AAC to "Pomp and Circumstance", followed by the faculty dressed in academic regalia. Fr. Frank Kurimsky opened the event with a prayer, and class president Shawn Michael Blake, II led the audience in the pledge of allegiance. Then he shared his farewell address with the class. Shawn Michael encouraged his classmates to not forget the experiences they had over the last four years - good or bad. He suggested, "The fool is someone who looks blindly ahead without
thinking about what has already happened."

Salutatorian Rachel Kuchnicki shares her thoughts with the Class of 2017.

Principal Tim Plocinik went on to introduce Salutatorian Rachel Catherine Kuchnicki. Rachel is a National Merit Commended student, served as NHS treasurer, was an OWL Center tutor, played girls volleyball, volunteered with Allegheny General Hospital, McGuire Memorial, and her parish, was actively involved with the recent Bikes for Bikes fundraiser, attended the March for Life and several mission trips. She has accepted the Founders Scholarship from Gannon University where she plans to enroll in their Physician Assistant program. Rachel is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph and Christine Kuchnicki and is a member of Holy Trinity Parish. Rachel encouraged her classmates to not let high school be the best four years of their lives. "I don't care if you end up being a fry cook or a cardio-thoracic surgeon," she said. "If you are answering God's call for your life and you love what you do, then you are doing bigger and better things."

Valedictorian Daniel Shaw gives his valedictory address.

Valedictorian Daniel Biagio Shaw was the next speaker of the ceremony. Daniel is a National Merit Finalist and has been awarded a National Merit Scholarship. He was a member of NHS, an OWL Center tutor, participated extensively in OLSH's theater program, most recently playing the lead role of Ren in this year's production of Footloose. Daniel volunteers with his parish, Ohio Valley Hospital, and Genesis House, and attended mission trips with his youth group. Daniel will be attending the University of Notre Dame where he will major in pre-professional health studies. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan and Ann Marie Shaw and is a member of Holy Trinity Parish. During his address to his classmates, Daniel reminded his classmates that they were all going out into the world as stronger and fuller men and women. They have been challenged and guided by OLSH's dedicated faculty. His advice for what comes next: "Do what you love. But don't do it for yourself, do it for others. Make that your purpose for doing what you do." Daniel asked his classmates to take the values learned while at OLSH and serve others.

OLSH President Terry O'Rourke Donoghue shared her remarks with the Class of 2017, proposing they form a PACT - be present, be authentic, be Christ-like and caring, and talk more, text less, and be thankful. She invited the class to stand and extend a loud thank you to their parents and family members for their love, support, example, and sacrifice.

After a musical performance by the Concert Choir, principal Tim Plocinik shared a few remarks, highlighting the many accomplishments of the OLSH Class of 2017. He challenged the class to live up to their new role as OLSH graduates by following the familiar words attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, "Preach the Gospel at all times; use words when necessary."

Members of the Class of 2017 pose together before the Baccalaureate Mass.

After the students received their diplomas, they were welcomed as alumni by Alumni and Parent Relations Manager, Deena Swank '92. Class president Shawn Michael Blake led his class in the turning of the tassels, and Sr. Francine Horos led a blessing of the graduates.

The faculty then led the new graduates out, and in OLSH tradition, lined the walkway, applauding the students with pride as the ceremony came to a close.

The faculty applaud the Class of 2017 as they exit the commencement ceremony.