Before I get to the valedictory address at Seton's Grad, I want to tell you about something strange that happened. You may remember that long ago I wrote about UPS and Fed EX dropping packages off some distance from the farm house because they were afraid of getting stuck in our 1/2 mile drive way. They did so without telling us that this was happening, and only by lucky chance did we find the packages before weather would have destroyed them. Well, we have had a new suburbian experience with our UPS man. I order medical stuff from a company that is cheap but invariably gets the order wrong. This latest time I called to order two cases of exam gloves. The clever salesperson who, of course, was seeking to "exceed my expectations" suggested that I also buy a box of mouth swabs. This was a good idea, so I did. The shipment arrived promptly: three boxes of mouth swabs, zero cases of exam gloves. This was no fault of the UPS man — this was simply a matter of my expectations not only not being exceeded but not even being met. So another call to cheap place and a girl this time seeking to exceed my expectations told me what to do to return the old and to get the new. So UPS man arrived the next day to pick up the two boxes (250 individually wrapped in a box) of mouth swabs. So far so good. Then a couple days later UPS delivered the gloves (10 boxes per case; 100 per box). The two cases were bound together with white plastic bands — the ones that are fun to cut with a pocket knife. The package was left on the porch. Everything normal. Then we noticed something peculiar. Tucked under one of the plastic bands was a $5 bill. We all were incredulous. No one has any idea why $5 would have been there. The boxes were slightly damaged by the white bands, but not to the extent that the gloves would have been compromised. We have decided that the UPS man must just love delivering things to our house so much that he feels the need to pay for the privilege. Or maybe the sales girl that I talked to really did somehow arrange for my expectations to be exceeded!
I should have mentioned in the post of Grad I that Michael Rangel, the Salutatorian, is also a new convert to the Catholic Church. Michael entered this past Easter. Michael will be studying at the University of Notre Dame. His current interest is political science and the field of law.
Our valedictorian this year was Collete Marchessault. She is a cradle Catholic and was chosen as a President's Scholar at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where she plans to double major in biological sciences and mathematics with a goal of a career in genetic research, specializimg in gene therapy or biotechnology. Don't worry — she kept her speech at a level that even we can understand!
Valedictorian Address By Collette Marchesseault (’12)
Congratulations to the Class of 2012. We made it!
First of all, there are so many people to whom the Class of 2012 owes their gratitude. To Mrs. Carroll, for all of her hard work and prayers for us. You truly have been an inspiration to our class. To our parents: Thank you for all you have done for us, for sending us to Seton, for challenging us, and for always supporting us. To all of the faculty and staff: Despite all the trouble and headaches we have given you, we really do appreciate all of the time you have spent with us, inside and outside the classroom, and without you we would not be here today. To our siblings: Thank you for keeping us humble and adding excitement to our lives. To all other relatives and friends: thank you for being here today with us and supporting us. But most of all, we owe our praise and thanksgiving to God, for giving us each other, helping us through all the good times and bad times, the late nights and early mornings, the tests and papers, the struggles and joys. He has been there every step of the way, and so many of us have seen Him working in our lives.
So before we process out those doors and enter a new chapter of our lives, let’s reminisce for a minute on our time at Seton and what we’ve learned here. Back in 7th grade, we learned each other’s names, we learned never to use a rolling backpack and we learned that it didn’t matter if you understood Mrs. Jones’ jokes: you laughed anyway. In 8th grade we memorized our transitional expressions and found out our airplane futures, most of which we hope will never come true, and we won spirit week. Freshman year we met our new classmates including of course P.L., realized just how hard science fair projects can be, and learned that mushrooms are “fun guys.” Sophomore year we asked deep questions in morality, and heard the lessons about dating jelly donuts, endured threats of all kinds by Mr. Terza and tried to ignore the ear-splitting, “YO FOCUS!” in the dim light of Mr. DuFrain’s English class.
Junior year brought us Mauritius day, syllogisms, daily writing samples, reminders from Mr. Koehr that “It’s only high school math” and of course, the junior dance. And Senior year: there are so many things to remember. Senior play, AMS sailing, senior breakfast, Hamlet night, senior prom, the hunchbacks in Physics II, senior slave day, religion class complete with zombies, and that ballad song that none of us can seem to get out of our heads yet. And don’t forget the senior excuse: The Jesuits did it. As seniors we had our last sports games, our last musical, our last spirit week, our last Friday Mass. And today, the last time we are all officially gathered as the Senior Class of 2012.
We have been called the smartest, and whatever the guys try to tell you, that applies does apply to the girls’ class as well. We have also been called responsible, kind, unorganized, funny and mischievous. While I don’t know if we are guilty of all of that, we all know for sure that our class is special. After the rather awkward junior high years, the Class of 2012 really began to bond. And now, I think we can safely say that our class is a tight class. We have shared each other’s joys, sorrows and even late night. We have thrown many, many lunchtime birthday celebrations for each other, complete with cakes and candles. Speaking of which, today is Vincent Dunn’s birthday, so be sure to wish him a Happy Birthday tonight. We have also always been quick to defend each other, especially when someone’s cell phone goes off in class. The entire room erupts in spontaneous coughing attacks and invariably a large book falls off a desk somewhere. We love each other, and I know that no matter where our lives take us, many of these friends that we have made in high school will be our friends forever.
Throughout our years at Seton, we have also had so many role models, so many parents, teachers, coaches and others who volunteer their time and talents to help us grow in a variety of ways. They have taught us so much, especially by the examples they set for us. The Class of 2012 has witnessed the passing of several members of the Seton community, and each of these people now has a plaque above our chapel door. We have learned from the joy of Michael Pennefather, the cheerful service of Mrs. Akers, and the hard work and smiles of Mrs. Jones. Most importantly, we have seen the value of suffering, and the even the joy it can bring. When one accepts suffering and offers it to God, it unites him or her to the suffering of Christ on the Cross and then too, to the joy of His Resurrection. In Mr. VanderWoude, we saw a fatherly love that was strong enough to give his own life to save his son. In Dr. Carroll, we all saw a quiet strength and acceptance of suffering that kept a smile on his face. These are the individuals that Seton has brought together. Although we miss them, they also give us hope. And they have left us with the challenge to carry on, to live up to the standard they have set. With God and with each other, I believe we can.
But there is no perfect path to Heaven for all of us. There is no perfect college, no perfect job, no perfect marriage or vocation that would lead ALL of us to Heaven. God made us individuals, never to be repeated. We each have a combination of certain gifts and talents that is unique only to us. It is only by developing these God-given talents that we can find God’s Plan for ourselves. It is by following God’s Will for us that we can transform the world. God alone knows our potential, and we must trust Him to help us become the men and women He calls us to be.
Some of us have been called to give of ourselves in a big way. To serve our country in the military, and keep us safe at home danger. Some of us may be called to witness in politics, in law, engineering, medicine, or the performing arts. Many of us will be called to be parents, and pass on the Catholic faith to our children. Finally, some of us have been called to religious vocations, to give themselves to God alone.
The important thing to remember no matter who we are or what we do is that no task is insignificant. No act is too small to show love for another. Every action can and should be done for the greater honor and glory of God. Just as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton said, and that we have heard so often, “Let His will of the present moment be the first rule of our daily life and work.” If we could each truly live that motto, to do only that which He wanted of us in each moment, we could be sure that we were on the path to Heaven. I pray that we will have the courage to accept God’s will in our lives, even when it’s hard, painful or just downright terrifying. We have to remember that He is always beside us, and if we would only reach out to him, we will find peace.
A Dominican priest (Fr. Bede Jarrett) once said, “Whatever your dream of the future is, it cannot equal His dream of you. All your hopes, so wild, romantic, extravagant, are nothing as romantic, or as splendid as God’s designs for you.” I know that if we are open to God’s Will in our lives, we will be amazed at what He will accomplish through us.
I’m going to end tonight with a challenge. My challenge to the Class of 2012 is this: Always, always pray for each other. Together, we will do more for Christ than we ever imagined. However, we need one another. Even if we lose touch, what a blessing to know that somewhere, a classmate of yours is praying for you. And so I ask that each of us continue to pray each day for our Class through the next four years, and for the rest of our lives.
Congratulations to the Class of 2012!