69 seniors say farewell at St. Paul High School

·4 min read

May 29—NORWALK — "I've had a hard time finding signs from God throughout the years, but they've been staring me in the face this whole time."

Borrowing a lesson that Dana Sumpter taught the St. Paul High School Class of 2022 at Kairos, valedictorian Meghan Belden had that message for fellow classmates at Sunday's graduation ceremony.

After two years of disruption from COVID-19, it was business as usual Sunday afternoon and, boy, was it nice.

This is what graduations should be like.

Sixty-nine seniors said farewell Sunday in front of family and friends in the St. Paul Convocation Center.

"At Kairos, we ditched our plans on the last night to go and play kickball in the dark," Belden said. "It was my second best memory there. My first best memory there was Adoration, when we, completely unprompted, guided by the Holy Spirit, formed a circle and held hands and ended with hugs.

"I think both of these instances teach the same lesson for us. God is always working in our lives. His plans for us might differ with our plans for ourselves. But He helps us to trust His plans by working in the spontaneous moments to give us real joy and love and peace."

Salutatorian Josephine Skinn had some big shoes to fill — and she filled them.

"Good afternoon and welcome fellow graduates, family and friends," Skinn said. "It is an honor to be standing in front of you today as the salutatorian for the class of 2022. Nearly 90 years later, I am following in the footsteps of my great grandmother, Madeline Boose, who was salutatorian for the class of 1934 along with many other relatives and past scholars of St. Paul High School.

"I want to start off by saying thank you to all the people in our lives who have supported us throughout our time here at St. Paul High School. The love and inspiration we have been shown from the faculty, our families, and classmates could not have been shown anywhere else.

"As we gather here today, I am reminded of how much we have been through together. Most of us have been together at St. Paul since we were in preschool. Over that time, we have been on field trips to Burnham Orchards, our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C., and denied a trip to Put-in-Bay because we were told our class was 'too big.' As we've grown up, we have gained new classmates and new friends through the years, and I would like to thank everyone in our lives who have made it possible for us to be a part of the St. Paul family. I truly believe that throughout our time here we have formed bonds that represent family and will uphold in the future.

"Each of us has had our own unique experiences here. Combinations of good times and bad times, hello Covid, times of laughter and times of joy, times of school spirit and of course, times of last-minute flashcards before your next elephant quiz. While we might have had our own experiences, all of these memories are linked with one another. Standing hand in hand at Kairos deep in worship, laughing at the latest trick the English classes played on Ms. Lysaght and Mrs. Spragg, or grumbling about our mythology binder that Mr. Miller made us write freshman year.

"Graduation marks the end of another amazing chapter in our lives. With this chapter closed, I am certain that many of us are already anxious about starting the next chapter because, unlike a book, we cannot skip through the pages of life to see how our story turns out. Our own books of life have not yet been written, we are writing them as every second passes every day. Luckily, as St. Paul graduates, we have been given the paper and ink to write our stories for ourselves. And with the love of our families, friends, teachers, and fellow graduates our stories will become best sellers."

The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of Bishop's Crosses to Amelia Rospert and Bryce Wnek.

The Mother Theresa Award was given to Maci Hay and the St. Francis Assisi Award went to Ryan Hedrick.

Class officers this year are Bryce Wnek (president), Ryan Hedrick (vice president), Abigail Stine (secretary), Isabella Cuturic (treasurer) and Isabelle Zimmer (historian).

The class Bible verse is Jeremian 29:11:

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you,

says the LORD,

plans for your welfare, not for woe!

Plans to give you a future full of hope."

The class motto:

"Go home. Why are you still here?" — Ferris Bueller

Class song:

"22" — Taylor Swift