Congratulations, class of 2020!

Denver Catholic Staff

What a ride it’s been for the class of 2020.

Graduation season is here, but it’s probably not what seniors had imagined it would be. The coronavirus pandemic has forced graduation ceremonies to be cancelled or postponed into the summer, and this graduation season has likely taken on a more somber tone for seniors.

Even so, all that hard work has still paid off for the seniors at our Catholic high schools. It wasn’t all for nothing. High school helped to form their minds and hearts, but for the graduates of Bishop Machebeuf, Holy Family, St. Mary’s, Arrupe Jesuit, Regis Jesuit, and Mullen High Schools, this is just the beginning. We’re sure that God has big plans for each and every one of them and that they’re all going to do great things.

Congratulations, class of 2020! May God bless each of you in your future endeavors.

Holy Family High School

Graduation date – July 23, 2020
Number of graduates – 149
Valedictorian – Chealen Berry
Salutatorian- Sharal Raphael

“The Class of 2020 has persevered through difficult circumstances yet had many noteworthy accomplishments. The last few months of the school calendar does not diminish their many achievements throughout their Holy Family journey. In fact, it highlights their maturity, leadership and faith. They leave a lasting legacy and an example we should all follow.” – Matt Hauptly, Principal

Bishop Machebeuf High School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduation date – Aug. 1, 2020
Number of graduates – 46
Number attending college – 45
Valedictorian – Carly Whitehouse
Salutatorian – Brianna Bertsch

“I have been so honored to work with the Class of 2020! They are a strong, faithful and supportive class. They have weathered changes and challenges with grace, poise and amazing energy. There is no doubt their perseverance, grit and love of Christ will continue to help them succeed in the next chapter of life. I love each Senior and I will miss them all dearly! There is no doubt the Class of 2020 will always hold a special place in my heart.” – Kellie Carroll, Interim Principal

Regis Jesuit High School

Boys’ Division
Number of Graduates: 212
Graduation Date: Saturday, July 18, 2020
Valedictorian: Ryan Tierney
Salutatorian: Eric Lee

Girls’ Division
Number of Graduates: 167
Graduation Date: Saturday, July 18, 2020

Valedictorian: Isalina Colsman
Salutatorians: Sarah Mourani, Hannah Smith

Number attending college – 375 (As of May 8)

“As we complete the school year in a manner that none of us could have even imagined back in August, I want to express my complete awe at the grace and goodwill the members of the Class of 2020 have exhibited as they completed their high school career. They have shown us that the lessons they learned during their time at Regis Jesuit —not only in the classroom, but on the stage and field and through service and prayer—have prepared them well for where they are headed to next. In the face of unrelenting uncertainty, they have embodied a faith-filled determination to persevere and embrace our Ignatian charism to find God in all things. We celebrate their numerous accomplishments and are excited to see how God works through them in the next phase of their journey and beyond.” – Jimmy Tricco, Principal of Regis Jesuit High School

Arrupe Jesuit High School

Graduation date – May 22, 2020
Number of graduates – 100
Number attending college – 100
Valedictorians – Gabriela Marquez Cortez & Jennifer Ruiz

“The 100 members of Arrupe Jesuit’s class of 2020 have so much to celebrate from the past four years. They have distinguished themselves as excellent students, dedicated leaders, young professionals through our Corporate Work Study Program, and as caring men and women for others. They have responded generously amid the disruption to their final months of senior year and will greatly enrich the college and university communities they join this fall. May God continue to bless these graduates abundantly!” – Principal, Fr. John Nugent, SJ

St. Mary’s Academy

Graduation date – June 27, 2020
Number of graduates – 65
Number attending college – 65

“The Class of 2020 is an exceptional class of women leaders. Filled with passion, purpose, and perseverance, they are ready for their next adventure. Their grit to work hard, their resilience to face setbacks, and their tenacity to keep moving forward in these challenging times have been remarkable. As they get ready to take on the world, I feel like a mama bird with 65 nestlings, each of them prepared to spread their wings and take flight. All I want to say to them is a line from my favorite poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Soar, eat ether, see what has never been seen; depart, be lost, but climb.” – Principal, Iswari Natarajan

Mullen High School

Graduation date: Sunday, May 24, 2020 (with in-person graduation planned Tuesday, July 14, 2020 if possible!)
Number of graduates: 225
Valedictorian: Jordan Cleary
Salutatorian: Lucy Stewart

“The Class of 2020 will truly be remembered as no other class ever has been. With dreams changed and hopes altered, they lead us so very well this spring. They will be in our hearts forever.” – Jeffrey M. Howard, Mullen Principal

COMING UP: Catholic high school seniors remain positive amid ‘roller-coaster’ school year

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Senior year is supposed to be the best year of a high schooler’s education. Who knew that in 2020, it would also be the weirdest?

The coronavirus pandemic has forced thousands of high school students to miss proms, senior trips, and the chance to say goodbye in person to their classmates. However, many of those students at Catholic high schools choose to see this as a lifetime lesson and a reminder that only God is in control and that in spite of the hardships and disappointments, he is present.

The Denver Catholic would like to honor those students who didn’t have the chance to have a “normal” graduation, but still managed to get through the school year and make this an important achievement worth celebrating.

Isaac Ritzer

The COVID-19 pandemic is something very unfortunate that has impacted everybody in one way or another. For Isaac Ritzer, Senior House Capitan at Bishop Machebeuf High School, it’s just proof that God always provides. His four years in high school were a roller-coaster of emotions; however, there is nothing more important for him than the memories, relationships, and friends he gained and for which he’s very grateful.

Isaac grew up in a solid Catholic family, where he received a very strong faith formation, but several of his teachers at Machebeuf also contributed to this faith formation in a very special way by setting an example of how to live like Christ. It is a real treasure that he will carry on to the next chapter of his life.

“My faith is something that I have always been fully immersed in… I was never taught that Church is just a side thing and that the faith only matters on Sundays,” Ritzer told the Denver Catholic. “Instead, in the classroom and at home, I was taught to build my life around my faith, because it is the most important thing. Because of that, my faith will be something I consider with every serious decision I make, and it will always be an active part of my life.”

Photo: Alyssa Sierra Photography

As for his graduation ceremony, Ritzer said that even though he would’ve liked to have a normal ceremony, he is more focused on the positive side of it, such as the great memories he has with his classmates and the things he learned during his time at Machebeuf. Just like other high school seniors across the country, to make this end of the school year a memorable and unique celebration, his friends and classmates have come up with creative ways to celebrate.

“I actually went to a ‘drive by’ at a friend’s house for his graduation. Essentially, people drove up to the house, while staying in their cars, just to celebrate their accomplishments,” he said. “One thing that happened this week was that a friend of mine signed to run at Benedictine college. He invited me to the Zoom call for his signing. It was always awesome to watch his drive and competitive spirit, and it’s so cool that he gets to carry that with him into college.”

Ritzer shared with the Denver Catholic how grateful he is for the great opportunity he had to lead his class as their senior captain and shared a message with his classmates to whom didn’t have a chance to say goodbye but will always remember.

“It was an absolute honor being a senior captain this year and watching so many of you step up to the challenge,” he said. “You showed me every day what it meant to lead in so many ways. Thank you for being teammates, peers, classmates, companions, and friends. Thank you for being there to share the great moments and also to make the bad ones a little bit better. There’s so much I could say to each and every one of you, but to keep it short, thanks for the memories! You are like family to me. I love you guys!”

Rachael Perez

Rachael Perez, a senior at Holy Family High School, knows her graduation will be nothing like what she’d imagined. Nonetheless, she has faith and has decided to focus on the greater treasures she is taking from her years at Holy Family, such as the relationships she was able to build with her teachers, whom she said pushed her to be a better student, friend, daughter and sister and support others whenever they needed help.

“[They were] an excellent example of the faith and how fruitful a life with Christ can be,” Perez said.

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains, and that’s exactly how Perez feels about the next chapter of her life.

Photo Provided

“I know there will be trials and great joys. God is there in both those times and all the moments in between,” she said to the Denver Catholic. “My faith has helped me so much and I’m so grateful for it. Because I have that faith, I’m really not scared or anxious about the future. Whatever comes next is what will be.”

Although Perez at times feels sad by the fact that her graduation ceremony has been “delayed,” the pandemic has taught her and many others the importance of adapting to new situations quickly and accepting what you can’t control. At the same time, she is aware that life must go on and she’s trying to adapt to a new “normal.”

When asked about the biggest lesson she’s learned from the pandemic and her senior year, she said, “I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. As simple as that. Everything can be gone in a split-second, so enjoy all that you can.”

“My class especially, we’ve gone through quite a bit and we know how temporary life and experiences can be,” she added. “It’s important that we all live in the moment and hug everyone as tight as possible — when it is safe and acceptable to do so.”