One of the most powerful moments of Friday night's Baccalaureate Mass came on the final award of the evening. The Principal's Academic Achievement Award & Scholarship went to Jon Kee Vose.
It brought the loudest applause of the night and it brought his mother to tears. After Headmaster Dave Eustis handed the award to the most worth recipient, Jon Kee Vose's mother came to the stage. She was overwhelmed with joy as the two hugged.
The award goes to a graduating senior in the College Prep or Accelerated programs "who has embraced the full Xavier experience, consistently worked to his potential in and out of the classroom, steadily improved his GPA over four years, and exemplified what we demand of each of our students – to simply do his best day in and day out."
A bit about why Jon Kee Vose won: his GPA went from 3.74 as a freshman to 4.28 as a senior, he tutored students in the Academic Achievement Center after making use of it to ensure his own success, he is a Celestine Award winner, a Department Award winner, a member of multiple honor societies and most recently won the Xavier Business Award. He also was president of the Classic Car Club, with about 60 cars attending a show here at Xavier in early May that raised more than $5,000 for the Eric J. Kalber Scholarship. He'll head to Salve Regina in the fall.
Rev. David Choquette, himself a Xavier graduate, challenged the Class of 2019 to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier by bringing the good news of God into the world. He told the class they would be embarking on a journey into the unknown, not unlike St. Francis Xavier did many years ago. Trust in God, he told them. God has been there and will always be there. And do your best to bring God's presence into a world that needs it.
Another big moment Friday night came when the Brother Celestine Medals were handed out. The award is named after Brother Celestine Killigrew, who taught history and religion at Xavier in the early 1960s and died in an automobile accident at age 25.
At the end of each academic year, students who receive the award must have an overall final average of A with no final average grade less than an A-minus in their major subjects. The award can be given only once during a student's four years at Xavier; it is the highest academic tribute that the school bestows.
Three students from the Class of 2019 earned that honor: Alexander Bonaiuto, Nicholas DeBrizzi, and Aidan O'Donnell.
They joined 41 others from the senior class who had earned the award in the previous three years:
Noah Ackerman, Luke Armenia, Eduardo Basauri, Pier Bos, Francis Brown, Ryan Cadwell, Nick Carso, Anthony Caruso, Daniel Comcowich, Owen Cordes, Michael Dellaripa, Brendan Donohue, Connor Dwyer, Ian Gelberg, Ryan Grochowski, Brandon Hawke, Jingqing Hu, Marc Lancia, Brendan Lenehan, Jordan Leonardi, Kacy Lombard, Julen Lujambio, Mitchell Macijauskas, Daniel McCormack, Richard Michaud, Laurenz Mosquito, Eric Myskowski, Samuel Norris, Cole Paiva, Rohan Patel, Bryce Pill, Garrett Prushinski, David Radomski, Frank Romeo, Michael Salley, Anthony Saraco, Rafael Serrano, Aiden Stevens, William Stottlemyer, Jon Kee Vose, Martin Wall.
Mosquito, by the way, also earned a perfect attendance award. Not just for this year – but for all four years. He was joined by Ryan Terlecky. Not only were they blessed with good health, but with a lot of determination and fortitude. And that achievement brought a loud roar from their classmates.
Six seniors were called to the stage for their participation as juniors at the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools' Junior Retreat and for living out the XBSS mission the past four years here. They were: Francis Brown, Anthony Caruso, Michael Dellaripa, Connor Dwyer, Samuel Norris, and Patrick Sullivan.
This year there are 10 seniors whose fathers also graduated from Xavier. The 10 fathers/sons honored as Legacy Families:
- Mr. Richard Anziano, Class of 1987, and his son Dominic.
- Mr. Thomas Belzek, Class of 1987, and his son Jacob.
- Mr. Gregory Bonaiuto, Class of 1984, and his son Alexander.
- Mr. Kyle Carso, Class of 1987, and his son Nicholas.
- Mr. Michael D'Aresta, Class of 1987, and his son Michael.
- Mr. Sebastian Fazzino, Sr., Class of 1981, and his son Sebastian Jr.
- Mr. Edmond Gioielli, Class of 1972, and his son Nicolas.
- Mr. Giulio Giuffrida III, Class of 1983, and his son Giulio IV.
- Mr. Manuel Quintana, Class of 1984, and his son Francisco.
- Mr. Brian Selfors, Class of 1983, and his son Dillon.
Part of the recessional hymn, "City of God," that wrapped up the evening was: God is light; in him there is no darkness. Let us walk in his light, his children one and all.
Congratulations to the Class of 2019, one and all.