Fatima graduates destined for college, success

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WARREN —The 21 members of Our Lady of Fatima High School’s Class of 2010 stepped out into the world last Friday night filled with hope and excitement, destined for success and armed with a solid academic foundation, strong values and a solid faith.

St. Dorothy Sister Mary Margaret Souza, school principal, presided over the school’s 41st graduation held in the school gymnasium. Kenneth Ascoli, assistant principal, offered the invocation.

Valedictorian Jordan R. Schwartz told his classmates to believe in themselves and to take personal responsibility for their actions.

“Poor self-esteem, a negative self image and ducking fault for one’s own mistakes seem to spread like a communicable disease,” he said. “When some are asked to make a list of their positive attributes, they fail miserably. And this is not because there is nothing to list; it is because they don’t like the way they are — they try to escape their true selves.” “We cannot escape who we are and we cannot evade responsibility, so we should embrace our true selves and step up to the plate. Sigmund Freud has even argued that a little narcissism is a healthy component of human development and helps us develop love for others. Besides, why should someone believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? Be proud. Take glory. Love the way you are. Be yourself.”

Salutatorian Alexander M. Schwartz, twin brother of the class valedictorian, told the graduates that it was their “job and duty” to take what they learned at Fatima and use that knowledge to make good decisions and make a positive contribution to society.

“Next year will be challenging, with new schools, new teachers and new classmates,” he said. “The influence of others will be strong, but if we adhere to our core values, nothing will get in our way of becoming the best people we can be and to succeed in anything. It was George Washington who said, ‘Hold to the truth,’ so as long as we stand by our beliefs and convictions, and act morally, the spectrum of opportunity for the future will be infinite.”

The brothers will attend the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston this fall.

According to Sister Souza, all of the graduates are planning to pursue higher education, noting that the graduates had taken advantage of the many opportunities that they were offered at Fatima.

“They’re a class that really has grown over the past four years,” Sister Souza acknowledged.

Class President Kristine DaSilva, a parishioner of St. Elizabeth Church, Bristol, described her experience at Fatima as “wonderful.”

“It was like having a second family,” she said. DaSilva will attend the Elms College in Chicopee, Mass, and hopes to pursue a career in law.

Dominic Pirri, yearbook editor and a communicant at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Seekonk, Mass., will attend Bryant University. He said he liked the individualized attention that students receive at Fatima.

“It’s a small community,” he said. “Everyone knows each other. It’s one big family.”

Pirri emphasized that the values he learned at Fatima will help guide him in his business career.

“It’s all about morals and living our lives to the fullest potential,” he continued. “The teachers here build character.”

Commencement speaker Dr. Camille Brown, diocesan assistant superintendent of schools, told the graduates that the foundation they received at Fatima will allow them to continue their “journey of discovery” as they entered the next phase of their lives.

“I challenge you tonight to remain firm and faithful to what you believe,” she said. “I challenge you to embrace your family ties. I challenge to grow into the person that God intended you to be. When you stay in tune with these challenges, your journey will be a great one.”

Fatima 2010 grad list

Justina Marie Botelho

Meghan McChaler Colvin

Kristine DaSilva

Ashely Noelle DeAngelis

Brian Michael Duarte

Michaela E. Furtado

Alex David Gorman

Teresa Marie Harris

Nicholson Jean-Gilles

Matthew James Leddy

Colin Robert Madeiro

Katelyn Alexandra Malloy

Thuong Nguyen

Dominic M. Pirri

Marc Hoffma Rabideau

Reinaldo E. Ramos

Mary Katherine Sanders

Alexander M. Schwartz

Jordan R. Schwartz

Devin Silva

Jacqueline Elizabeth Smiley