PROVIDENCE — Marked by laying flowers at the tomb of Thomas F. Hendricken, first Bishop of Providence, the all-boys Bishop Hendricken High School graduated its 58th class at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on Wednesday, June 12.
Graduates Nicholas R. Braz and Israel O. Emmanuel placed floral arrangements at the base of Bishop Hendricken’s green granite sarcophagus in the cathedral. The moment was a poignant reminder that Hendricken students had carried the bishop’s remains when his final resting place was moved from the crypt beneath the cathedral to its current location at the right of the transept in 2006.
Following Hendricken Chaplain Father Christopher J. Murphy’s opening prayer, Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon commended faculty and staff for preparing students for life.
“Your life can change overnight,” Solomon said, adding that the graduates’ “path to success” lies in using their capabilities to embrace and adapt to change.
“Do not become so concerned with making a living that you forget to make a life,” the mayor advised.
Hendricken boasts two salutatorians this year. Ryan A. Brinton delivered remarks after the awarding of diplomas, while Michaelangelo Coppa gave a welcome address.
Coppa told his peers that they “shouldn’t be like mercenaries” in their future careers, but pursue work with sincere dedication and meaning. Admitting to a case of nerves, he ended by advising graduates that “the only stress is the stress you put on yourself, so don’t let it control your life.”
Hendricken’s strong sense of its history blended with a new chapter as Mark R. DeCiccio made his first commencement address as principal. DeCiccio, a Class of 2003 alumnus, took up the mantle as principal in the 2018-2019 academic year.
DeCiccio told his soon-to-be fellow alumni that their collective academic, athletic and theatrical achievements made them “the greatest class in Hendricken history.”
The Class of 2019 was “finishing strong and leaving a legacy,” DeCiccio said, adding that “Your successes have motivated me to push future generations even further.”
The “secret to success after high school,” DeCiccio said, is to “keep God first, pray often and respect and love one another.”
After graduating musicians briefly joined the Young Men’s Chorus for a performance of “No Time” and the concert band for John Philip Sousa’s “The Thunderer,” Valedictorian Michael J. DelSesto took the podium to highlight “what makes Hendricken different,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the prestige of Hendricken is its people,” DelSesto said. “Every day we spent at Hendricken, the people of Hendricken helped us grow,” leading by example in the classroom and in the hallways alike.
DelSesto concluded by encouraging graduates to “live for others,” quoting the 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird: “Climb into another’s skin, and walk in it.”