WOONSOCKET — Brother Adelard Arena was filled with joy, happiness and sustained applause on June 3 when the largest class in the history of Mount St. Charles Academy — 196 students, including five international students — graduated before a large audience of faculty, staff, families and friends.
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The academy was established in 1924 by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart who continue to staff the school.
The invocation was given by Father Charles Quinn, who is retiring as school chaplain after 30 years of ministry. “The Sacred Heart of Jesus has his arms open wide to show you how much he loves you,” he said.
Quoting President Abraham Lincoln, Father Quinn told the graduates: “Remember: ‘The task before us is never as great as the power behind us.’ I pray that God will help you see how beautiful you are and how much he loves you.”
Diplomas were presented to the Golden Anniversary Class of 1962, which includes Mount faculty member Brother Harold Greer, a longtime religion teacher at the school.
In his salutatory address, Dylan R. Schaffer, who will attend Harvard University, shared, “To our parents and teachers — or as of today, our Facebook friends: thank you. You have done more than instruct us. You have led us to be good servants of God, and been shoulders to cry on, offered witty remarks when needed, and simply been friends.”
After diplomas were awarded, Valedictorian Benjamin D. Swiszcz, who will attend Providence College, told his classmates, “It is time to move forward and enter a new phase of our lives. In a few short moments we will be walking out of those doors forever. The secret in life is in falling down seven times, and getting up eight. Keep striving to succeed. It can be easy to recall our failures, but it is more important to remember our successes and learn from our mistakes.”
Quoting Gospel artist Kirk Franklin, Swiszcz added, “There’s a reason why the rear-view mirror is so small and the windshield is so big.’”
“Take with you the lessons of faith, compassion, fortitude, and courage you have learned here,” reminded Principal Edwin Burke at the close of the ceremony. “Continue to grow in your faith. God waits for us to reach out to him. Seek God in prayers and the sacraments, and each day ask him: ‘Take me where you want me to go.’”
The valedictorian’s mother, Monique (Robidoux) Swiszcz, has the distinction of having served as the valedictorian of her 1980 class at Mount.
Mount St. Charles Class of 2012
Francis Ciavattone III
Cassandra Czarn Cassandra
Steven Donahue II
Mary Elaina Elmasian
Sijia He Sijia
Hyun Seung Kim
Paul LaPlante Jr.
Jiwei Ma Jiwei
Anthony Macari III