Xavier Graduates 148 at 58th Commencement Ceremony


Xavier High School graduated 148 seniors at its 58th Commencement exercises with the Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, Bishop of The Diocese of Norwich, among those addressing the students on Saturday, May 25.

Following the graduation of the Class of 2024, Xavier is proud to boast an alumni community of 10,171 Falcons.

Nearly an hour after festivities concluded our graduates and their families still gathered around our new Home of the Falcons sign on the side of our building. The beautiful addition to our campus continues to be a destination for photos.

New Sign

The graduation can be viewed HERE.

Here is a summary of the awards and recognition.


Burke is the son of Mary and Patrick of Wallingford. Cormac’s academic credentials as the number-one ranked senior are unparalleled. You would need a magnifying glass to find a grade lower than A+ on his transcript. As a freshmen Cormac was the recipient of the Br. Celestine Award. Since then, distinction after distinction have followed:  Four-year Br. David Eddy Scholarship recipient, membership in the National of which he is President as well as the English, Mathematics of which he is Secretary, Science, Social Studies and Spanish of which he is Vice-President, honor societies. He is a Harvard Book Award winner and based on his junior PSAT score, a National Merit Commended Student. At the Baccalaureate Mass he was presented with the English Department Award, was a dual recipient with Juan Pacheco-O’Donnell of the Spanish Department Award, and most recently the President’s Award during graduation. 

Outside of the classroom, our AP Scholar with Distinction has been a Peer Minister and member of our indoor and outdoor track teams, Model Court, and Ryken Service Society. For the past two years he helped organize the Red Cross blood drives. 

His teachers and counselors said the following of him: 

“He is academically gifted, unrelenting in his pursuit of excellence, and a young man of strong character. He is unrivaled among the gifted seniors in his class. He has taken every AP class available to him. The drive to succeed comes from deep within him, and paired with his intellect, he is unstoppable.”

“It is rare that we find a student who scored a 5 on every AP exam he took as a junior.  He puts his heart and soul into all that he does but maintains a great sense of humility.  He loves to learn, write, and study and is going to go very far.” 

In the fall, he will be a welcome addition to the campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where he will major in government and legal studies. 


O’Donnell is the son of Vivian and Juan of Old Saybrook. Contributing to this outstanding achievement: More than two dozen A+’s on his transcript; Brother Celestine Award winner, the highest academic honor Xavier can bestow; four-year Bishop Hines Scholarship recipient for his 99th percentile score on the Entrance Exam; membership in six Honor Societies of which he is President of the Spanish, Treasurer of the Mathematics, and Vice-President of the National; UCONN Avery Point Book Award; designation as an AP Scholar with Distinction, and the recipient of the Spanish Department’s Award at the Baccalaureate Mass.

Outside of the classroom, Juan was a member of the Recycling Club, our award-winning Robotics team, the Ambassadors Club, and the Ryken Service Society. 

His school counselor and teachers had this to say about Juan.

“Juan has an incredible work ethic and keen intellect. He devours class materials and makes it look easy. He is an amazing young man, one of the top students I have had in my twenty-five years of teaching. His natural curiosity, strong work ethic, and passion for learning are the driving forces behind his great achievements.”

“Juan is an exceptional human being whose kindness and compassion are evident in his interactions with peers and teachers. When he told me he had obtained a job in a restaurant, I was honestly surprised. This wasn’t graphing quadratic functions, analyzing Beowulf, or thermodynamics; it was busing tables and thinking on the fly. But he developed a new sense of confidence in himself and demonstrated that he could handle anything thrown his way.” 

Juan is attending Boston College in the fall to major in neuroscience with a pre-med track.  


The Falcon Achievement Award recognizes a senior who has represented the very best that athletics stand for at Xavier. Chosen upon the recommendation of the faculty and staff, the recipient is a young man who embodies those qualities of loyalty, commitment, sportsmanship and hard work, which characterize our fine scholar-athletes. And this year is unique. The faculty and staff vote was tied. Two of our fine seniors received this award in 2024.

Kieran Driscoll was a three-sport athlete, playing soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. He served as captain of both the soccer and basketball teams. The incredible amount of hours spent every season in the gym or on the turf field, practicing for home competitions as well as the long hours spent traveling to and from away games did not deter this young man’s pursuit of academic excellence. 

A Br. Celestine Award winner in his freshman year, he also earned membership in the National Honor Society of which he served as Vice-President this year as well as the English, Math, Science, Spanish, and Social Studies Honor Societies. He is the recipient of the Gettysburg College Book Award and has been designated an AP Scholar with Honor.  And he was recently honored as a CAS/CIAC Scholar Athlete.

His coaches write, “He personifies the Xavier student-athlete, embodying the qualities all coaches aim to instill in their team members. He always gives his best effort, is a genuine team leader, exemplifies sportsmanship and class, and prioritizes the team’s success over personal achievement. He leads by example.” 

Driscoll has also gravitated toward many of the service-oriented activities that Xavier offers such as this year’s President of the Student Activities Council, the Ambassador’s Club, Ryken Service Society, Peer Ministry, and middle school soccer and basketball camps. 

A teacher said, “He is a person of strong moral fiber, integrity, and empathy, making him a beloved figure in our school community.” 

This fall he will join his older brother Aidan on the University of North Carolina campus at Chapel Hill. 

What do Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Illinois Nebraska, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Ohio have in common? Raekwon Shabazz defeated the state champion wrestlers in these fourteen states during a wrestling career among the best in Connecticut. And the local newspapers have provided enough print coverage for this young man to fill multi-pages of this graduation script.

Two National High School Championships. Two New England and CIAC State Open titles. Three Class L crowns. 160 career wins and only thirteen losses in a three-year career as the wrestling program was cancelled during his freshman year due to covid.  The GameTime CT Most valuable Player and the CHSCA Wrestler of the Year. He wrestled at 113 pounds this past season and won at every level and went 5-0 at the Nationals.

Coach Mr. Cunningham had to say about him, “In my career of coaching thirty years, he’s been the best. He has set the standard of what it means to be a Xavier student-athlete.  He is one of our most charismatic, hard-working, and committed athletes.”  

His teachers and counselors had this to say about Raekwon, “In my thirty-four years of teaching, he is the only student for whom I wrote the comment ‘most pleasant student I have ever taught’ on his report cards. Through his involvement in his multitude of extra-curricular activities, he demonstrates an innate, genuine understanding of Xavier’s school motto, ‘Be A Man, a man like Christ.” 

In the fall, he’ll be joining the wrestling program at Wartburg College in Iowa.


The Xavier Loyalty and Service Award, the most prestigious award that the school confers, is presented to a member of the graduating class who is chosen upon the recommendation of the faculty and staff. Loyalty and service are qualities that Xavier High School strives to teach all its young men and they are crucial to the fulfillment of the school’s mission. The choice is based on the consistency and quality of the student’s service to the Xavier community and the passion and perseverance he has displayed in his commitment to all aspects that make up the experience of a Xavier High School student.

Brescio has been a multi-year member of our Ambassador’s Club, Ryken Service Society, Empower Leadership Club as well as being a Big Falcon and Peer Minister and student-leader of our successful blood drives exemplify the meaning of true service. 

In his junior year he traveled to Guatemala to paint wall boards for two homes under construction. This past April break found him on the school’s South Dakota service trip where he worked among the Lakota Tribes.  And he was recently designated as a CAS Student- Leader. 

One of his teachers remarked, “He has distinguished himself not only as a fine student but also a caring person who makes himself available for those in need.”  

His counselor wrote, “He is a young man of tremendous character, moral conviction, and determination. He was selected out of all his classmates to be one of six Xavier representatives on the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools retreat his junior year.” 

And another teacher said, “He has emerged as one of the most determined, self-motivated, and self-disciplined students I have encountered in my thirty-six years of teaching.” 

Academically, he has been inducted into every Honor Society Xavier offers. He is a National Merit Commended Student and an AP Scholar. An interest in politics found an outlet in our Model Congress program, receiving recognition at the different Congresses he has attended and being selected for the President’s Cabinet. 

His interest in politics will only prosper when he studies International Political Economy at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in the fall.


  • President’s Award: Cormac Burke
  • Perfect Attendance Award: Tristan Donnelly
  • English Award: Cormac Burke
  • Mathematics Award: Kyle Levesque
  • Religion Award: Thomas Collison
  • Brother John Collins Campus Ministry Award: Euan Hall
  • French Award: Gage Wasilefsky
  • Spanish Award: Cormac Burke & Juan Pacheco O’Donnell
  • Science Award: Kyle Levesque
  • Social Studies Award: Tristan Donnelly
  • Technology Award: Joseph Paterno
  • Physical Education Award: Colby Ciampi
  • Visual Arts Award: Samuel Schulz
  • Music Award: Brayden Lobo


Xavier presented a special award to the 13 alumni fathers, grandfathers, and guardians of today’s graduating seniors. The younger graduate received a ribbon on which hangs a medal of the Xavier seal. He then placed the medal on the shoulders of his father. Engraved on the back of the medal are the names of both father and son as well as their years of graduation.


Mr. Timothy Callinan, Class of 1968, and his grandson Lucas, Class of 2024.

Mr. Jeremy Fowler, Class of 1994, and his son Caleb, Class of 2024.

Mr. Charles Tomaszewski, Class of 1969, and his grandson Caleb, Class of 2024.

Mr. Christopher Daigle, Class of 1995, and his son Jacob, Class of 2024.

Mr. Daniel Fagan, Class of 1988, and his son Jacob, Class of 2024.

Mr. Bryan Feitel, Class of 1986, and his son Hunter, Class of 2024.

Mr. Mark Fong, Class of 1990, and his son Zachary, Class of 2024.

Mr. Iain Hall, Class of 1990, and his son Euan, Class of 2024.

Mr. Salvatore Lagana, Class of 1988, and his son John, Class of 2024.

Mr. John LaRosa, Class of 1977, and his son Nicholas, Class of 2024.

Mr. John Milardo, Class of 1987, and his son Mario, Class of 2024.

Mr. Stephen Santello, Class of 1991, and his son Ryan, Class of 2024.

Mr. Frank Dunn, Class of 1968, and his grandson, John Wamester, Class of 2024.


Enthusiastic, optimistic, upbeat, knowledgeable, generous, humble, compassionate, supportive, empathetic, and dispenser of pink lollipops. These are just a handful of the adjectives submitted by faculty and staff members to describe Mrs. Marie Braychak.

She is Mr. Cerreta’s administrative assistant, and over the years she has been the initiator of the cookie and cake sales, the chili cook-off, served as senior class moderator, and resurrected and coaches the Xavier Bowling Team. 

Her compassion towards the students is to be admired; she truly cares about them and has their best interests at heart. The mother of Matthew, a 2006 Xavier grad and Samantha, a 2009 Mercy grad, she has created enduring personal relationships which is the hallmark of the Xavier family.

Our next jubilarian is a Xavier grad, Class of 1994. During those four years Mr. Jeremy Fowler was a ubiquitous presence on the school campus – a four-year singer in the school choir, Outdoor Track sprinter, junior and senior Prom Committees member, the Kestrel and Yearbook staff, Peer Minister, and like many of our graduating seniors, an XLI participant. 

Mr. Fowler is presently the chairman of our Religion Department and teaches freshmen Scripture and junior Morality classes. He recently completed his second Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and earned certification for Academic Administration.  He is a devoted husband and father of five children, one of whom is among the Class of 2024.

In his twenty-five years of service to Xavier, Mr. Michael Cunningham has worn many hats in the classroom, the gym, the playing fields, and the golf links.  He has taught pre-algebra, biology, physical science, Strength and Conditioning, Introduction to Coaching, and Physical Well-Being. 

Sports-wise he has served as JV and Varsity lacrosse coach, Varsity and assistant Varsity soccer coach, JV golf coach, and most outstanding, Xavier’s Varsity Wrestling Coach for the past twenty-two seasons. His teams have won thirteen Conference championships, most recently this year, six State Championships, most recently this year, Four State Open Championships, most recently this year, and finished as runners-up for the New England Championship in 2022 and, most recently, this year. 

On February 2nd of this year, he celebrated his 100th career victory as a coach.  He was voted the SCC Coach of the Year three times since 2018. He was inducted into the Connecticut Chapter of the Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2022 and was inducted into the Middletown Sports Hall of fame this past April.

Despite this incredible resume and all of the above accolades, he is a down-to-earth man of great humility. He has seen two sons walk across the stage as Xavier grads, Tyler in 2012 and Colin in 2014.

It’s true that no one is indispensable, but things aren’t just right when some people are not around. No one knows better the skeleton, veins, and capillaries of Xavier than Mr. Andy Wyzykowski.

The building’s blueprints are his daily reading material. To whom do we turn, the faculty, staff, and Brothers, when a light bulb needs replacing; a toilet or sink leaks or drips; a water-logged ceiling panel crashes to the floor; a locker room or media center is awash with flood waters when a selfish pipe had to burst at 2 in the morning; when hurricane-like winds tore a huge hole in the SJ roof and cascading rain waters flooded the science labs and dining hall; when school corridors, stairwells, and ceilings needed brightening with a coat of white paint; when XLI posters need to be hung in the gym; when ceiling to floor graduation curtains try to conceal that we are not sitting in the gym but a five-star venue.

He renovated the school chapel, sanding and refinishing all the pews, repairing the stain glass windows, and coordinating the light fixture upgrades. He has saved the school countless sums of money. The word NO is not in his vocabulary.