In a word he was masterful. Jordan Leonardi, President of the Senior Class and of the National Honor Society, was master of ceremonies for the Academic Awards Night Thursday evening at Xavier.
"As we rapidly approach the end of the school year, we find ourselves enveloped in last-minute projects, final exams and the excitement of graduation," Leonardi said as he welcomed hundreds of students, family members, friends, faculty, staff and administrators gathered for the festivities. "Rather than focusing on what lies ahead, we take this opportunity to recognize the academic feats accomplished by our current and rising Xavier students."
Awards were handed out for incoming freshmen and then the Classes of 2002, 2001, 2000, and 2019.
Leonardi had a message for each grade, telling the eighth graders to "focus on the new world of experiences opened to you to as you walk through those front doors."
To the ninth graders: "Expand and network with friends and faculty to establish bonds that you can rely on throughout your high school career."
To the sophomores: "If you haven't already, make an effort to engage in new experiences because at the end of this year, you will already be half way through your Xavier experience."
To the juniors: "Now is the time to look toward fulfilling your roles as the next leaders of the school."
And, to his fellow classmates, the seniors: "Reflect on the times you laughed, cried and drew closer to one another as these final weeks very well may be the last time we stand united under one roof."
Headmaster Dave Eustis thanked the parents for giving Xavier their sons, asked all the seniors in the gym to stand to be recognized and welcomed the eighth graders heading here next year. They were being recognized as Ryken scholars for scoring in the 95th-99th percentile on their placement exams.
Eustis called Xavier a special place where "we learn, we pray, we play ... to all getting awards, my hearty congratulations, and to the seniors, congratulations as you head off to the next stage of your life."
Before Principal Brendan Donohue read the list of all the winners and called them to the stage where Headmaster Eustis gave them their award, he told the students:
"I congratulate you for your successes thus far and I look forward to your continued success in the years to come. Regardless of where you are on your educational journey, always be sure to see your education as an opportunity to become a better man. The fact that you are here tonight means that God has given you a great gift. With that gift comes the responsibility to use it wisely. Congratulations to you all and keep using your gifts to make yourself and the world a better place."