St. Mary’s Holds 65th Commencement Exercises

By Eileen Symmons

On Saturday, June 2, the Saint Mary’s High School Class of 2018 gathered at LIU Post in Brookville with family and friends for the institution’s 65th commencement exercises. The academic processional included the graduates, faculty, clergy, and administrators in the Tilles Center. Michael Ryan, assistant principal for students, was the master of ceremonies. Rev. Fr. Jiha Lim, who serves as the school chaplain, gave the invocation, and Melissa Cairo presented the salutatory address. Principal Jonathan D. Kramer, ’92, gave his remarks, and the presentation of diplomas followed.

In her speech, Cairo shared, “The four years my fellow graduates and I have shared at St. Mary’s have taught us invaluable lessons about the real game of life. We have learned that life is more than a race to the top, more than becoming victorious. It is about learning to reach out to others, to risk becoming vulnerable and to face challenges with faith and openness.”

Atif Akhter gave the valedictory address, saying “It’s amazing to think that only in a few months we will be freshmen facing the challenges of going to a new school, making new friends, and performing well academically again. The strength, courage, and motivation we gained by being students at St. Mary’s will help us reach our true potentials. I am proud to share the stage with you today.”

The presentation of academic and special awards proceeded, and Dr. Joseph R. McCleary gave his first commencement address as president of the Schools of Saint Mary. Rev. Fr. Robert A. Romeo, the pastor of the Church of Saint Mary, gave his remarks and blessing of the graduates. The traditional recessional, “Pomp and Circumstance” was played as the proud, 139 new members of the St. Mary’s High School Alumni Association departed the theater with joy to celebrate their achievement with loved ones.

The Class of 2018 earned $22 million in academic scholarships and was accepted to an array of prestigious colleges and universities. Post-secondary selections include Cornell University, Duke University, Villanova University, The George Washington University, Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Manhattan College, Northeastern University, Seton Hall, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology and many others.

For the complete list of college acceptances for St. Mary’s High School Class of 2018, visit

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