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St. Paul graduates encouraged to 'be awesome'

By JOE CENTERS • May 27, 2018 at 7:43 PM

“Be awesome.”

Those two words say it all. St. Paul High School Principal Jim Tokarsky told the graduating class of 2018 to strive to be the best and “not average.”

“My dad was awesome,” Tokarsky continued. “He pushed me to be a better person each day. Who pushes you to be awesome?”

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the 45 St. Paul graduates gathered as a class one final time.

Valedictorian Allison Brown told her classmates to appreciate every second.

“Life moves pretty fast,” she said. “If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. 

“Ferris Bueller, one of my favorite characters but my complete opposite in school terms, has it right in saying life moves pretty fast — we’re already at our high school graduation for goodness sake. So, let’s stop from our class’s hustling and bustling to look around at this moment.”

One by one, Brown talked about each classmate, remembering something about each one of them.

“When it matters in joyful and sorrowful moments, we embrace our 45-person graduating class. We are here and whether it is joyful or sorrowful, we are embracing each other one more time before we say farewell for now and separate to take our next steps in the world,” she said.

“These steps will be different for all of us, baby steps or ‘one step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ in size, but if we stay true to ourselves and adjust our cadence as we stumble, we will continue living our class motto.

“Usually, when a class motto is brought up, you think of some words tied together for announcements or maybe more as a culmination of our years as a class, but for me, our quote is quite fitting for our little family: ‘I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.’

“Saint Teresa of Calcutta may not have had us in mind when she penned this, but I think God had something up His gigantic sleeves to help these words reach us after many years of being a class.”

Brown also received the Bishop’s Cross along with Joey Catalano.

Salutatorian Meghan Hedrick welcomed everybody to the commencement ceremony and talked about time.

“We learned that time is deceptive,” she said. “Days went by slow, but somehow the weeks seemed to fly. Four years went by, and yet is still feels like just yesterday we were the little freshmen walking through the halls.”

Hedrick also said:

• “Time flies when you are having fun.”

• “We learned that time is valuable.”

• “We learned that time needs to be managed.”

• “We experienced God’s time.”

• “We learned to be on time. ...”

• “And, finally, we learned that time does not stop.”

Life will go on for the 45 graduates as they all start their new life paths.

Norwalk Catholic School President Dennis Doughty spoke about his father, who was a St. Paul graduate and a prisoner of war when he was just 19. He told the students to do the same thing that kept his dad alive living in three different prisoner of war camps.

“Live your life with faith, courage and integrity,” he said.

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