Good evening, Reverend Fathers, Dr. Cuddeback, Mrs. Carroll, Seton faculty, parents, family

members, friends, distinguished guests, and of course, members of the Class of 2015. I also

want to specially acknowledge those long-time faculty members who are leaving us, Colonel

Jones, Mrs. O’Herron, Mrs. Parriott, and Mrs. Dial, and those from our community who are here

in spirit, Dr. Carroll and Mr. Terza.

We have arrived at the end of the evening. This speech will conclude tonight’s graduation.

Because tonight marks the last time the Class of 2015 will all be present, I have written a speech

which will ensure that we will remain together in this Church for as long as possible to relish our

last moments!

Though high school years have not left me with much free time, I managed to read a book

recently which profoundly impacted me. It struck me that in significant ways, our high school

experience parallels Louie Zamperini’s story, recounted in Laura Hillenbrand’s book Unbroken

and depicted in the blockbuster film under the same title. Louie Zamperini’s character and

approach to life enabled him to endure tremendous challenges and adversities. Throughout our

time at Seton, all of us have grown in character and an understanding of the world that will carry

us through life and enable us to address life’s many challenges and adversities. Despite any

obstacles, we will remain “unbroken.”

Louie was a rambunctious and uncontrollable teenager. However, his older brother, Pete,

redirected Louie’s boundless energy toward a career in running. Louie’s new found love

transformed his life. Once World War II erupted, Louie, who had run in the 1936 Olympics,

joined the army air corps and served in the Pacific Theater. On one mission, Louie’s B-24 was

shot down, and he endured forty-six days on a lifeboat. He was later incarcerated in a

concentration camp until the end of the war.

It is my understanding that the movie ends when Louie and his family are reunited. But Louie’s

story continues. Louie experiences serious post-traumatic struggles. Only after his wife

convinces him to attend a conference held by a Christian speaker and he learns how to forgive

his captors, does Louie begin to recover and reform his deteriorating lifestyle. Louie was

“unbroken,” and this unbroken-ness stemmed from two struggles – one physical in nature, and

one interior.

In the first year of high school, it would be inaccurate to say we were united as a class. Despite

what our class song declared, we failed to “win, win, win spirit week.” However, as Pete did for

Louie, Seton directed us toward a lofty goal – excellence in all aspects of our lives. That

freshman year, we witnessed the sophomore’s spirit week success despite their lack of seniority,

and we realized our potential. Also, Mrs. Carroll expected us to complete daily quizzes and

closed-notes tests on faded purple dittos, labeling us as official high school students and holding

us to a higher standard. We progressed through the years on our high school journey.

Sophomore year, or should I say “so-homore year”, as our class t-shirts read, we began to bind

together as a class, and senior year, we won spirit week. As the Class of 2015 gathers here

tonight, I can say we have conquered the struggles and have experienced the blessings of high


What cannot be seen exteriorly, much like Louie’s story, is the interior development we have

undergone. We struggled, and continue to struggle, in a world which discourages opposition.

Seton taught us differently. We learned about the truth and the importance of proclaiming the

truth. Our spiritual lives deepened through our religion classes, regular confession, Holy Hours,

and Mass twice a week. Passing by the chapel, students display reverence for Our Hidden Lord.

The members of this class have become better as persons, and it was not uncommon to observe a

student forgo lunch and free time to aid a fellow student. The world saw the outward appearance

of Louie’s story, and will see the same for ours. However, the transformation we have

undergone far exceeds this limitation, and our true triumph was growing closer to our Lord.

Mrs. Carroll had a vision which now has provided us with the means for this development, to

form and educate high school students in the Catholic faith. This class is the 39th class to pass

through Seton’s doors and venture into the world, and this year marks Seton’s 40th Anniversary,

which is heightened by the construction of the new Chapel. Our previous four years, or for most,

six years, at Seton would not be possible without many people. Our teachers have imparted us

with invaluable knowledge and enduring truths, such as “Don’t date a loser” and “Don’t marry a

jerk.” The office ladies have organized the lives of all those at Seton, and tend to know more

about club activities than most members. Also, this graduation would not be possible without:

our parents who made enormous sacrifices so that we could receive a Catholic education; the

deacons who exposed the Blessed Sacrament at our holy hours; and the priests who celebrated

Mass for us in the gym and heard our confessions. Last, we owe much to Mrs. Carroll who has

dedicated herself entirely to each one of us. She entertains all our questions on an extensive

amount of topics, from succession of the states from the Union, to the morality of treating

different types of deadly wounds. Mrs. Carroll christened us the “Most Inquisitive Class”, which

could be a kind title to acknowledge our tendency to debate. Something unique about Mrs.

Carroll I will forever remember is her unfailing attendance at our basketball games. I will always

envision her sitting on the bleachers while grading stacks of tests, yet never missing a key


I would be remiss not to mention one person who enjoyed and attended our athletic competitions

almost as much as Mrs. Carroll. This past year, Mr. Terza, our beloved Latin teacher, passed

away, and many of us acutely felt this loss during the school year. He always cheered us on with

his iconic “Shoot the ball!” whether or not we had possession. He and his iconic sombrero were

sorely missed at our soccer games this season. He brought incredible joy to Seton, and his

Foreign Language skits exceeded our expectations each time. One of the most memorable of

these was Julius Caesar’s death, in which Mr. Terza, or Julius Caesar, was stabbed to death by

Latin students. After his murder, Mr. Terza awoke to clouds dancing around him, in heavenly

light. I will forever remember his gift of laughter and the joy and holiness he exemplified, which

serve as a model for all.

Mr. Terza’s joy calls to mind our joyous moments throughout our four years. Back in ninth

grade, in Mrs. Ciscanik’s 8th period English class, one student continuously fell asleep. During

one siesta, the students convinced the teacher that everyone should evacuate the room before the

end of the class so that the student, upon awakening, would find the room deserted. The bell

rang, but the sleeper remained in his current position, unaffected by the loud noise.

Subsequently, two or three other students ran in to wake him, at which he awoke utterly

bewildered. In Mr. Heisler’s English classes, we were able to perfect debates concerning

superheroes, and we decided Spiderman was superior to Batman. Or maybe it was the other way

around. Senior year, we had the honor of not only having the Pete doll as an honored guest at the

Senior banquet, but also the “living doll”, Mr. Westhoff himself. During American History one

day, while Mrs. Carroll was speaking about her family’s involvement in John Schmitz’s

presidential campaign against Richard Nixon, the class convinced her to sing the jingle she and

Mr. Westhoff had written. Seniors ran off to find Mr. Westhoff, and he and Mrs. Carroll

serenaded the class.

The Class of 2015 has shared countless memorable experiences, but the time has come to begin

the next chapter of our lives. Seton has encouraged us to flourish with all of our individual

talents, and now we must employ what Seton has given us for the past four years.

In harmony with our tradition of closing social gatherings, I say to the Class of 2015, “Good

times have never seemed so good.” Our core values will remain the same, whether we will

attend school in Spain, join the army, or live forty-five minutes away in Front Royal. Continue to

strive for perfection and excellence, in all studies ranging from engineering, to English, to

underwater basket weaving, and always safeguard your Catholic faith.

The life of Louie Zamperini exemplifies a determination to remain physically and mentally

strong. If we continue, with dedication, on a path toward Christ, our record of striving for

holiness with great love will, like Louie, be truly unbroken. Thank you all and may God bless the

Class of 2015.


Click to access the login or register cheese