Moving Forward

Graduation is a very important and symbolic time for the school and it comes with unique preparation. This year’s event saw a quick change of venue as the weather went from threatening to beautiful. Mr. Steve Straessle made the call to first move the graduation indoors on the morning of May 25. As skies and forecasts cleared, he called up volunteers from the faculty, the senior class and the JROTC. They moved everything including electrical equipment to live stream the ceremony in record time. Mr. Straessle warned the crowd that there was a storm moving toward Midtown, so they were welcome to take shelter if necessary. He also promised that no matter what, the seniors would have receive their diplomas before the evening ended. Brother Richard Sanker had said special prayers for good weather and those prayers held until a few minutes after the crowd dispersed. 

Many members of the faculty help with graduation and all are critical to this sacred event. “Brother is the main organizer of the event,” said special events coordinator Mrs. Dawn Berry. “Many teachers and staff, as well as junior volunteers, help the night of the event.” 

Graduation is an event that requires careful planning. “There are many small details we all take part in [graduation],” said Mrs. Berry. “Like organizing ticket distribution to the seniors, the chair layout on stage and for the audience, double-checking the pronunciation of all the boys’ names, and confirming the order of diplomas so everyone gets the correct one.”  The weather was the one thing that Mrs. Berry couldn’t control, but she didn’t worry about it. There was a backup plan for the backup plan. 

Class president Jed Straessle wanted to speak at graduation because he knew what would come next in life. “I wanted to be a graduation speaker for the plain fact that I had a few more things to say to my brothers,” said Straessle. “I knew it was going to be a final goodbye and my last chance to speak to all of them.” 

For Straessle’s speech, he knew exactly what he wanted to say. “Everything I thought I had to say had been present in my everyday life for the past four years,” said Straessle. “It was easy, to be honest — it was just articulating my experience of Catholic High.”

For Mrs. Berry, graduation is an opportunity to get to know the students more. “I do not have the opportunity to know the students very well, in my position as Special Events Coordinator,” said Mrs. Berry. “The graduation practices allow me to get to know the graduates a little better before they leave us and return as alumni.” 

For seniors, graduation is the closing of a chapter that has been going on for four years. “Leaving Catholic High is bittersweet,” said Straessle. “I understand that it has to end and that the time has come to move on, which I’m excited about, but it hurts regardless. The school is definitely something I will miss and something I will carry with me always.” 

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