AUBURN — In front of a packed gymnasium, Saint Dominic Academy graduated 58 seniors Friday night.

As family and friends stood armed with cameras, the graduates marched in with happy faces, about to become graduates instead of students.

Principal Donald Fournier, who oversaw the Catholic school go from being a high school to an academy for grades 7-12 this year, said he’s watched seniors give of themselves, work hard, grow through adversity and accomplishments. They will always have a place in his heart, he said.

He read from St. John’s where Jesus told his followers to love one another just as he loved them. “We have tried to show you Jesus’ love,” Fournier said. “Now we ask you to show love wherever you go.”

He gave the school’s traditional graduation speech, offering a few warm words about each individual.

His descriptions included:

Joe Bosse, a leader always willing to lend a helping hand. He’s served his school well and now will serve his country.

Alyse Carney is a powerhouse spirit of dedication with a brilliant mind, gifted in debate, philosophy and knowledge of history, “certainly a future lawyer or judge,” Fournier said.

Kevin Costello is community-minded with a charm that is endearing. He’s a quiet leader but willing to speak up and take a stand.

Don’t be surprised to hear Meghan Murphy on the radio someday, Fournier predicted, praising her singing as rivaling anyone on “American Idol.”

Guy Lemelin is an entertainer with a big heart, who brings his positive energy to every undertaking.

Theresa Terriault is a happy, honest person with a great moral compass. “She is kind and gentle and always willing to help,” Fournier said.

Daniel Curtis, who has “the potential to change the world,” made a huge impact working with elementary students this year.

Jacob Sicotte is likable and talented and acted better than John Travolta when he played Danny Zuko in “Grease,” Fournier said.

Charlotte Gaylord is a gifted artist who’s shared her creativity. She will “change the world with one brush stoke at a time,” Fournier said.

Salutatorian Frank Montana said that in their journey at St. Dom’s students have experienced late nights studying, semester projects done at the last minute, jubilant sport wins and bitter defeats.

“As we look forward to the next chapter in our lives, we look back” and say thank you to many — teachers, religious leaders, parents and classmates, Montana said.

Valedictorian Carolyn Joseph said after years of school they know a lot. Now they’re about to leave a predictable world and enter the unknown. They don’t know how they’ll adjust to college or get their dream jobs.

“We can’t know what our future holds, which is why we must turn to our faith.” She offered her congratulations. “I’m proud to call you my classmates and friends.”

When Bishop Richard Malone spoke, he observed the warm temperature in the room and the many people fanning themselves.

Wearing the traditional black pants and jacket, cap on his head and long cape, he mused, “If you think you’re warm, try this outfit.”

He told the graduates that St. Dominic Academy has helped them understand that the meaning of success is about integrity, service to others, selflessness and love.

As they leave St. Dom’s, the world may “try to give you a different meaning of success that may not have anything to do what you learned here.” He asked them to remember what they learned, and to remember the tremendous love “God has for each of us.”

After the graduates were called to the stage to receive diplomas, Fournier turned to the audience and said, “Ladies and gentleman, the Class of 2011.”

The audience gave them a standing ovation.

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