86 earn diplomas at commencement exercises

AUBURN – Eighty-six seniors at St. Dominic Regional High School received diplomas at their school’s 62nd commencement exercises Friday night.

They heard their class valedictorian, Kristen N. Ruby, salute the school’s move from Lewiston and, beginning in 1998, the construction of their present high school in Auburn as “an achievable dream.”

For their dedication to the project, she commended St. Dom’s Principal G. Michael Welch and Bishop Joseph Gerry, bishop emeritus of Portland, who led the diocese between 1988 and 2004.

By comparison, she related how a father and son built the Brooklyn Bridge despite an accident that killed the father and totally disabled the son. She explained how the bedridden man, able to move only a finger, developed a code he could use to tap out instructions for continued construction of the bridge.

“If two men like John and Washington Roebling can build something as successful and amazing as the Brooklyn Bridge, and the dreams of just a few men and women can create something as spectacular as this school, just imagine what a group of 86 determined students can accomplish in a lifetime,” she said.

Salutatorian Whitney A. Danse, using references to theater, told the students, “In our lives, we have no script. We are always improvising. The outcome of the entire plot is in our hands.”

She said every person with whom each student comes in contact “is important to the outcome of the play.”

Each student plays the leading role in his or her own life, she said, and parents are the stage managers. Like most stage managers, “They seldom get the credit they deserve,” she said.

Teachers have been the stage crew, she continued, and there have been countless supporting actors throughout each life.

“Some of them fill nonspeaking roles,” she said, but emphasized that we learn from all of them.

“We now have the job of moving out into the real world and becoming a supporting cast member in other people’s lives,” she said.

Sister Rosemary Donahue, superintendent of Catholic schools, acknowledged the dedication and sacrifices of parents, St. Dom’s board members, and others associated with Catholic education in the Twin Cities.

In the coming months, this group will deliberate the future of St. Dom’s as they consider the Lewiston-Auburn task force’s proposal that the institution become a junior-senior high school including grades seven through twelve,” she said.

Bishop Emeritus Gerry addressed the students on behalf of Bishop J. Richard Malone, who was unable to attend because of illness.

“What an awesome invitation is offered to you,” he told the students. “You are called to make a difference in the direction of our world.”

Katelyn D. St. Pierre delivered the commencement invocation, Bridget C. Duval sang the national anthem, and David A. Chamberlain led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Kerrie L. Keller was class marshal.