WOONSOCKET – Proud family members and friends filled the storied Brother Adelard Ice Hockey Arena at Mount Saint Charles Academy on Sunday to watch the school’s class of 2010 receive their diplomas.
The Sunday afternoon ceremony marked Mount Saint Charles Academy’s eighty-sixth commencement.
The graduating class proceeded into the building accompanied by “Pomp and Circumstance.” This processional song, followed by “The Star Spangled Banner,” was skillfully performed by the academy’s Senior Band, led by Conductor Marc Blanchette.
As the students settled into their seats, Ashley Berube, a graduating senior who will be attending Providence College in the fall, took the stage as Mistress of Ceremonies. She began the ceremony by introducing Reverend Charles Quinn, Chaplain, who gave the Invocation. President Herve Richer was next to the stage, conferring commemorative 50th anniversary diplomas to the attending members of the class of 1960.
Ashley Berube then introduced graduating senior Matthew Santos, who will be joining her at Providence College in the fall. Santos gave the salutary address to his classmates, reminiscing about the memories created over the past four years and expressing his hope that these memories will have a positive effect on the futures of his classmates.
“I hope that you will bear witness to what we have done for each other; the laugh in the cafeteria to brighten up a bad day or the encouraging words in times of insecurity,” said Santos. “I hope that your fond remembrance will allow for the continuation of your love of learning, that you will continue this love as you move forward and continue to be successful.”
Row by row, the graduating seniors then rose and marched cheerfully across the stage to receive their diploma and a heart-felt handshake from Principal Edwin Burke. After the final student, Kelsey Zwolenski, received her diploma, the graduates celebrated loudly and flipped the tassels on their red and blue mortarboards.
The smiles continued as valedictorian Robert Traphagen Yates, who will be attending Princeton University in the fall, addressed his graduating class. Yates gave a light-hearted speech in which he referenced characters from the television show “Star Trek.”
“I wish that our class face the unfamiliar like Captain Kirk,” said Yates, drawing laughter from the audience. “The future is our unknown frontier, and I want you, the class of 2010, to boldly venture into it. Faced with the future, I know we will never back down.”
The conclusion of Yates’ humorous but poignant speech was met with a standing ovation from his classmates and the rest of the audience.
The ceremony concluded with the honoring of The All Mountie Award, which is offered to a graduating senior who has excelled academically, participated in at least one interscholastic sport, contributed significantly to the welfare of the Academy through participation in extracurricular activities, and manifested distinctive qualities of leadership. This year’s award was given to Matthew Santos, who earlier had presented the salutary address.
As the students filed out of the arena, their bright smiles were matched by the day’s sunny sky. Family members and friends gathered to take pictures and celebrate their graduates’ achievements.