St. Raphael graduates told to ‘Make a Difference’


PROVIDENCE – Ninety young men and women received their high school diplomas to cheers and a standing ovation at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral Sunday in a ceremony steeped in fond memories of their four years at St. Raphael Academy as the graduates open the next chapter in their lives.

To view or purchase these or additional photos please click here.

The Class of 2012 may have gotten off to a rough start, but it eventually found its way and succeeded, said Salutatorian Michelle Torres, in an address titled “Oh the Places We Have Been,” adapted from the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”

Recalling Dr. Seuss’ exhortation that life is a “great balancing act,” Torres, who heads off to Boston College in the fall, reminisced about the experiences that brought the class together as a family as they learned to balance their spiritual, academic, social and extracurricular lives. “For the seniors sitting before you, this ceremony is a tribute to our long dedication to the pursuit of a Catholic and Lasallian education,” she said.

“Today closes a major chapter that lasted four years. However, we could not have gotten here alone,” she added, thanking teachers, who became a “second family” at school and parents—students’ “own personal cheering squads.”

The Class of 2012 received a four-year total of $11 million in college scholarships. One third of the class is a member of either the national or state honor society—or both. The class also logged in 12,000 hours of community service. Graduates also are leaving their mark on St. Raphael, where the class founded the Thespian Honor Society, the first Spanish student exchange program, and the volleyball and mock trial teams.

The class valedictorian, Juan Bedoya, is the first in his family to go to college. Next fall, he will attend Harvard University, with $172,000 in scholarships.

In his valedictory address, Bedoya urged his classmates to use their intelligence, athleticism, character, and compassion to make a difference in the world. “Start small. Teach a child to read. Stand up for someone. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Donate your old clothes to the poor,” Bedoya said. “But then, dream big. Make the changes that will change the world entirely. Search for a cure for cancer. Develop something no one has seen before. Discover some unknown planet. Save the world from global warming.

“Don’t merely chase your dreams, catch them,” he added.

The most distinguished award of the ceremony, the Edith Peck Philips Memorial Award, went to Anamaria Arteaga. The award recognizes a student for “overall achievement and excellence” as well as contributions to the school. “I feel grateful,” Arteaga said. “I hope to live up to it.”

In her remarks to the graduates, Principal Maryann Donohue-Lynch encouraged them to put God first in their lives, to celebrate and embrace their uniqueness, and to be people of gratitude and generosity. “The world is ready for you, Class of 2012,” she said. “The world needs your intellect, your creativity, your passion, your good will.”

Donohue-Lynch is also moving on from St. Raphael, but says she will maintain ties to the school through her new job as the Associate Executive Director for Mission and Ministry for the Brothers of the Christian Schools, District of Eastern North America.

“It has been an honor to serve as president-principal of St. Raphael Academy. St. Ray’s is truly a school where the individual student is attended to and provided with the foundation for future success,” Donohue-Lynch told the Rhode Island Catholic.

For students such as Julian Diaz, earning a diploma was an award all of its own. A teacher in a middle school summer program once told the college bound graduate that his academic performance was so poor that he would never finish high school. Diaz credits his mother and grandmother for helping him to turn his life around, noting he would never have made it without the encouragement of the teachers at St. Raphael. For the remainder of his life, Diaz said he will always cherish his experience at the academy.

Bishop Robert C. Evans delivered the benediction at the ceremony, calling upon God to let the light of his divine wisdom guide the graduates in all their actions as they begin their new lives.

St. Raphael Academy Class of 2012

Devon J. Andrews

Anamaria Arteaga

Christopher D. Attardo

Kensey Auguste

Ariana Barbosa

Juan E. Bedoya

Dominique Brown

Cameron Bryce

Matthew Sable Burke

Meaghan Burns

Ysmabel Canela

Tiffani M. Carcieri

Tess Carvalho

Nicholas Cesino

Derick Ramon Contreras-Munoz

Taylor N. Cote

Gianna Mercedes DeMedeiros

Julian Angel Diaz

Caitlyn Donnelly

Joao Carlos Taveira Duarte

Caitlin Dunne

Christopher Ellis

Natasha Ferreira

Samantha Filliatreault Ferreira

Matthew Robert Findesen

Tyler Fortin

Nicholas Joseph Gagnon

Jessica Garvey

Kristen Rose Gauvin

Jonathan Geller

Ashley M. Giordano

Antonio Humberto Goncalves

Leen Hajou

Justin Charles Haney

Connor James Harrington

Michael Hinojosa Maria

Thomas Hurley

Amanda Christine Interlini

Kytresa Ivey-Jones

Kaitlyn Amanda Jacques

Baindu Zinna Kamara

Jennifer Gabriela Keane

Alisha Rose Kearney

Brendan-Patrick K. Kelahan

Jaron Keough

Brenden Christopher Knight

Christian Andres Lampinski

Alexander M. Lazieh

Jordan Alexis LeFort

Tyler Lockley

Kelsey Malloy

Mackenzie M. Matook

Zachary Mays

Cesar Justin Enrique Mejia

Esi Mensah

Christian James Microulis

Nicholas Arthur Microulis

Emily V. Millar

Patrick Miranda

Henry Mota, Jr.

Julia Aleksandrovna Nefedova

Cory Dillon Norberg

Xavier C. Nunez

Tiffany M. Otis

Zachary Owusu

Whitney Palavra

Robert Parker

Lucas Jonathan Pavao

Katelyn M. Pendergrass

Dianne Maria Peralta

Junior Peralta

Adrienne Pereira

Brenden Pike

Catherine Piper

Taylor Pires

Darshelle Ramos

Samuel Shea Reinhardt

Kelsey E. Richardson

Davon Robertson

Manuela Destinee Rocha

Kaseem Sams

Alicia Marie Sousa

Nicole Tellini

Michelle Torres

John Tougas, Jr.

Cory Alexander Tweedie

Troy Valdivia

Darshaun Vargas

Malcolm Williams

Alexander Wisnewski