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Father McGivney celebrates graduation

In keeping with a long-standing tradition at Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon, the graduates, after receiving their diplomas Sunday, May 21, went outside and, on cue, threw their hats into the air. (Photos by Randy Pierce)

By Randy Pierce

With a high percentage of students earning top honors for their academic achievements, Father McGivney Catholic High School’s annual graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 21, saw diplomas presented to 42 females and 27 males who all gathered outdoors after it was over for the traditional tossing of their hats into the air.

Measured against a maximum total of 4.0, the overall cumulative grade-point average for all members of the FMCHS Class of 2023 reached 3.99. The 69 graduates included 43 with a GPA of 3.99 or higher who were presented with gold medals as summa cum laude recipients.

There were another eight who attained magna cum laude status for GPAs of 3.7 to 3.9 and four designated as cum laude, their GPAs being between 3.5 and 3.7. That means 55 of the 69 graduates had GPAs of 3.5 or more. 

Based on those GPAs, individual class ranking and the results of their American College Testing and/or Scholastic Aptitude Testing scores, 16 of the Father McGivney grads were recognized as Illinois State Scholars, a prestigious honor considered by institutes of higher learning when deliberating on scholarship awards.

The number of acceptances into colleges and universities was close to two-and-a-half times the actual number of graduates, that total being 161 with $18 million in scholarships being offered for an average of $260,000 per student, many of whom had multiple possibilities to choose from for furthering their education. 

The cumulative number of community service hours the FMCHS grads worked toward the requirements to do so was 7962 plus they also attended 120 masses and went on three class retreats. 

After the grads entered the school gym while the traditional processional, “Pomp and Circumstance,” played, one of them designated as house captain, Jacob Huber, led the opening prayer. 

Principal Joseph Lombardi welcomed everyone present then gave summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude medals to the students who earned them.

This was followed by an address from The Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield since 2010, who provided four simple sentences for the graduates to remember and utilize when appropriate: “I don’t know,” “I was wrong,” I’m sorry” and “I can help,” along with focusing on meaningful virtues such as humility, temperance, prudence, faith, hope and love.

The Very Reverend Jeffrey Goeckner, left, presented several Magna Caritas Awards at the graduation ceremony held at Father McGivney Catholic High School Sunday, May 21. Among the recipients were, middle and left, Diane and Doug Villard of Glen Carbon.

The five graduates who took turns at the podium offering messages for their peers and recollections of their time at FMCHS were Daniel Gierez, Lauren Jones, Margaret Klusas, Evan Schrage and Sophia Tutt.

The Very Reverend Jeffrey Goeckner, president of the school’s board of education, presented the Father Michael J. McGivney Award and Magna Caritas Awards. The diplomas were given to each graduate by Bobbie Madura, the school’s student services director.

Prior to the processional, one of the walls in the gym served as a screen for the showing of a special video, filmed and edited by graduate Mary-Elizabeth Benware of Troy, featuring various highlights such as her fellow members of the Class of 2023 having fun, talking about the future and what they enjoyed during their time at the school. 

Student vocalists from Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon led the singing of “The Irish Blessing” to help close out the graduation ceremony held there Sunday, May 21

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