Congratulations and Godspeed, Class of 2021!

For our Catholic high school students, this past year was one marked by unprecedented adversity and unique challenges. When the class of 2021 began their freshmen year of high school, they could have never guessed that their senior year would be undertaken in the midst of a global pandemic, trading classrooms for Zoom rooms and face-to-face time for Facetime.

Even so, for the students of Bishop Machebeuf, Holy Family, Regis Jesuit, Arrupe Jesuit, Mullen and St. Mary’s Academy, they’ve proven that with resilience and the foundation of their Catholic education, no challenge is too great. If their conquering of this past year is any indication, then the class of 2021 is destined to do great things, all for the greater glory of God.

Congratulations to the graduates of the class of 2021! May the Lord bless each of you richly in all of your future endeavors.

Bishop Machebeuf High School

Graduation date: Friday, May 21
Number of graduates: 61
Number of graduates attending college: 58
Valedictorian: Maria Miller
Salutatorian: Paul Sri
“The class of 2021 has shared their enthusiasm, time, and talents with the entire Machebeuf community in many ways, and we will miss them as they become Machebeuf Alumni.” – Dr. Anthony Bonta, President

Holy Family High School

Graduation Date: Thursday, May 20
Number of graduates: 159
Number of graduates attending college: 157; two graduates joining U.S. Military
Valedictorian: Caitlin Johnnides
Salutatorian: Gavin Smith
“You are well prepared for the next phase of your life – in your studies, in the virtues, and in the sacraments. You have all these gifts and you have the courage to put them to their best use to serve your family, your community, your country, and the Church. Your courage will serve you well in the next phase of your life when your peers and your teachers will often not share the world view of our community. When the Truth is on your side do not be afraid to voice it, do not wither in the face of adversity, but rather proclaim the world as it actually is and do not fear the consequences for as St. Augustine said ‘The Truth is like a lion; you don’t have to defend it. Let it loose and it will defend itself.’ Holy Family could not have surmounted the challenges of the last year without you. You have made your mark on this school and we will always be grateful to the Class of 2021.” Matt Hauptly, Principal

Regis Jesuit High School

Boys’ Division
Number of Graduates: 208
Graduation Date: Sunday, May 18
Valedictorian: Ryan Occhionero 
Salutatorian: Robert Whitehead 

Girls’ Division
Number of Graduates: 175
Graduation Date: Sunday, May 18
Valedictorian: Victoria O’Hare 
Salutatorians: Amelia Marcum 

Total number of graduates attending college – 369

“The tassels that are currently on the right side of your cap indicate how close-knit the collective hope we share has been. And when we move it to the left, we are letting that hope loose- allowing it to touch the rest of the world. So set it free. Especially as leaders of change, think about who, sitting beside you right now or in your future needs to be seen, loved and given the opportunity to be cherished?”  – Nzana Thillot, Senior

Mullen High School

Graduation date: Saturday, May 22
Number of graduates: 199
Number of graduates attending college: 196
Valedictorian: Anna Seaman
Salutatorian: Michael Dudzic
“In everything you do I urge you to be bold, be open and be authentic.” – Anna Seaman, Valedictorian

Arrupe Jesuit High School

Graduation Date: Friday, May 21
Number of graduates: 98
Number of graduates attending college: 98
Valedictorian: Jimena Padilla Ortiz
Arrupe Jesuit’s class of 2021 has distinguished itself as excellent students, dedicated leaders, young professionals through our Corporate Work Study Program, and as loving young people filled with great faith and hope. We celebrate all the ways their God-given gifts have enriched our school community and send them off as generous men and women for others. – Father John Nugent, SJ, Principal

St. Mary’s Academy

Graduation date: Saturday, May 22
Number of graduates: 64
Number of graduates attending college: 64
 “I want to let you know what a privilege it has been to say that I have studied and competed alongside some of the women who have walked this campus. SMA graduates are everywhere and have long worked to make our communities better.” – Commencement speaker Ramona Sandoval, ’13 Alumnus

COMING UP: Colorado Catholic Conference 2021 Legislative Recap

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

On June 8, the First Regular Session of the 73rd General Assembly adjourned. Over 600 bills were introduced this session. Policy primarily focused on transportation, agriculture, healthcare, fiscal policy, and the state budget. However, the legislature also considered and passed many bills that could impact the Catholic Church in Colorado.  

Some bills that were passed will uphold Catholic social teaching and protect the poor and vulnerable of our society while others pose potentially harmful consequences to the Catholic Church, its affiliated organizations, and Colorado citizens who wish to practice their well-founded convictions. There were also many bills that were considered by the legislature that did not pass, including two bills that would have upheld the sanctity of life and two that would have expanded education opportunity for K-12 students.  

The Colorado Catholic Conference (CCC), as the united voice of the four Colorado bishops, advocated for Catholic values at the Capitol and ensured that the Church’s voice was heard in the shaping of policy.  

Below is a recap of the CCC’s 19 priority bills from the 2021 legislative session. For a full list of the legislation the Conference worked on, please visit:  

For regular updates and other information, please sign-up for the CCC legislative network here.  

Six bills the CCC supported that were either passed or enacted

Note: Passed means the bill was approved by both chambers of the legislature and is pending the governor’s signature as of June 9, 2021. Enacted means the bill was signed by the governor and became law.  

HB 21-1011 Multilingual Ballot Access for Voters – Passed  
If enacted, counties where either 2,000 adults or 2.5% of the adult population primarily speak a language other than English will be required to provide a ballot in that language. 

HB 21-1075 Replace The Term Illegal Alien – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1075, the term “illegal alien” was replaced with the term “worker without authorization” as it relates to public contracts for services.  

SB 21-027 Emergency Supplies for Colorado Babies and Families – Passed  
If enacted, the state government will allocate much-needed funding for nonprofit organizations to provide diapers and other childcare necessities to families in need, including Catholic Charities.  

SB 21-077 Remove Lawful Presence Verification Credentialing – Enacted    
With the enactment of SB 77, verification of lawful presence will no longer be required for any applicant for a license, certificate, or registration, particularly in the job fields of education and childcare.  

SB 21-146 Improve Prison Release Outcomes – Passed  
If enacted, SB 146 will establish practices that ease the transition back into society for formerly incarcerated persons.  

SB 21-158 Increase Medical Providers for Senior Citizens – Passed  
If enacted, SB 158 will allocate more funding for senior citizen care, which is currently understaffed and underfunded.  

Eight bills the CCC opposed that were passed 

HB 21-1072 Equal Access Services For Out-of-home Placements – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1072, Colorado law now prohibits organizations that receive state funding for placing children with adoptive or foster parents from discriminating on, among other things, the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or marital status. This new law will likely to be impacted by the imminent Fulton v. City of Philadelphia U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

HB 21-1108 Gender Identity Expression Anti-Discrimination – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1108, “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression” are now recognized as protected classes in Colorado nondiscrimination code. This may have serious religious liberty implications for individuals and organizations that wish to practice their well-founded convictions on marriage and human sexuality. 

SB21-006 Human Remains Natural Reduction Soil – Enacted 
With the enactment of SB 006, human remains can now be converted to soil using a container that accelerates the process of biological decomposition, also known as “natural reduction.” 

SB 21-009 Reproductive Health Care Program – Passed 
If enacted, SB 009 will create a taxpayer funded state program to increase access to contraceptives.  

SB 21-016 Protecting Preventive Health Care Coverage – Passed 
If enacted, the definition of “family planning services” and “family planning-related services” will not be clearly defined in law and could potentially include abortion. Furthermore, SB 16 removes the requirement that a provider obtain parental consent before providing family planning services to a minor.  

SB 21-025 Family Planning Services for Eligible Individuals– Passed 
If enacted, SB 025 low-income women to be given state-funded contraception, “preventing, delaying, or planning pregnancy” services, which includes cessation services and sterilization services.  

SB 21-142 Health Care Access in Cases of Rape or Incest– Enacted  
The enactment of SB 142 removes the requirement that, if public funds are being used, a physician must perform an abortion at a hospital, and instead allows for abortions to be performed by any “licensed provider.”   

SB21-193 Protection of Pregnant People in Perinatal Period– Passed 
If enacted, SB 193 will eliminate an important protection in Colorado law for a preborn and viable baby when a woman is on life support.  

Five bills the CCC supported that failed  

HB21-1017 Protect Human Life at Conception – Failed 
HB 1017 would have prohibited terminating the life of an unborn child and made it a violation a class 1 felony.  

HB 21-1080 Nonpublic Education and COVID-19 Relief Act – Failed 
HB 1080 would have established a private school and home-based education income tax credit for families who either enroll their child in private school or educate their child at home, thereby expanding education opportunities for families during and after the pandemic.  

HB 21-1183 Induced Termination of Pregnancy State Registrar – Failed 
HB 1183 would have required health-care providers that perform abortions to report specified information concerning the women who obtain the procedure to the state registrar of vital statistics, thereby increasing transparency in the abortion industry.   

HB 21-1191 Prohibit Discrimination COVID-19 Vaccine Status– Failed  
HB 1191 would have prevented individuals from being coerced to take the COVID-19 vaccine by either the state or by employers.  

HB 21-1210 Modifications to Qualified State Tuition Programs – Failed 
HB 1210 would have allowed families to use some of their private 529 savings account funds for private K-12 school tuition for their children, including at Catholic schools.   

One bill the CCC opposed that failed 

SB 21-031 Limits on Governmental Responses to Protests– Failed 
SB 031 would have made it more difficult for law enforcement to protect innocent lives when protests turn violent.  

Two bills the CCC was in an “Amend” position that passed  

SB 21-073 Civil Action Statute of Limitations Sexual Assault – Enacted  
With the enactment of SB 073, the statute of limitations on bringing a civil claim based on sexual misconduct will be removed as of January 1, 2022. Under this law, victims of sexual abuse can pursue a civil cause of action if the statute of limitations has not expired, the abuse happened in Colorado, and the abuse could be considered a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor if it was a criminal case. 

SB 21-088 Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act– Passed  
If enacted, SB 88 will allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue public and private institutions for abuse that occurred between 1960-2022. Victims would have three years to bring a historical claim, starting from January 1, 2022. Claims brought during this window would be capped at $387,000 for public institutions and at $500,000 for private institutions, with the ability of a judge to double the damages depending on how the private institution handled the situation. Despite unanswered constitutional concerns regarding SB 88, the Colorado Catholic dioceses will also continue to offer opportunities for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to receive support in a non-litigious setting.   

While the legislature has adjourned the 2021 legislative session, there is still the possibility that they will reconvene later this year. To stay up-to-date on Colorado legislative issues and their impact on the Catholic Church in Colorado, be sure to sign up for the CCC legislative network HERE.