Be not afraid, represent your education and preserve your good name.
Speakers at and told the class of 2012 to use their faith and to live life.
"Consult not your fears but only your hopes and dreams," said St. Joseph High School President William J. Fitzgerald, addressing 187 SJH graduates, nearly all of whom will be going on to college. They earned $12.2 million collectively in scholarships and grants. It's the school's 47th graduating class. St. Joseph also turned 50 this year.
"The point is to be open to the future that is coming at you like a freight train," he said. While there may be risks, "risk living it."
"The future should not intimidate you," according to Fitzgerald, who also advocated faith and daily prayer for guidance.
The president added that in four years, St. Joseph has become more modern with technology and an addition with an auditorium and computer lab.
First Selectman Tim Herbst told the graduates not to fear making mistakes, but to learn from them. He called for removing a "pervasive attitude of entitlement that has plagued us for too long." They should practice respect and compassion.
Valedictorian Jessica Jowdy said the class of 2012 is the culmination of the school's mission, started in 1962.
"Our class is the embodiment of this image as a renaissance class," she said. "I ask that you remember us as we were as students. See us as the students we had been at St. Joe's."
She also encouraged her classmates to learn from sources other than books. "Some things like common sense cannot be learned but our acquired by experience," Jowdy said.
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William Lori, now the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore, Md., also sent a letter to the graduates, urging them to use their gifts.
Christian Heritage: What's In a Name?
A name is all people really have, said CHS Headmaster Brian Modarelli, who started his job in September 2011. The graduating class of 35 earned $2.35 million in renewable and merit-based scholarships.
"These students have led the school quite well," he said.
"To be esteemed is better," according to Modarelli. "A name is more important than riches or silver or gold."
He cited biblical examples of people who have served God despite their stations in life.
"The name you create for yourself matters and you carry it with you," the headmaster said. "You're going to get to create a brand new name for yourself."
But, he added, students should also carry the name of Jesus Christ. "There is power. There is access to the father. Nothing is above it," Modarelli said.
Valedictorian Grace Loria, who earned a 4.46 GPA, continued the theme of names, but said to bring honor to the name Christian Heritage.
"Our time here is wasted if we don't bring something with us," she said. "Our teachers reminded us to act with dignity and respect."
"My wish is we bring credit to CHS and all that it stands for. You are more than high-achieving scholars. You are ambassadors. Let us be remembered as a class that led our school well [and showed] dignity and honor."