A graduate of  Holy Cross Preparatory Academy, Delran, displays a personalized mortarboard for the school’s Commencement Exercises. Hal Brown photo
A graduate of Holy Cross Preparatory Academy, Delran, displays a personalized mortarboard for the school’s Commencement Exercises. Hal Brown photo
Each year, commencement ceremonies offer the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and shared experiences of the graduating class. Along with the conferring of awards and diplomas, student speakers shared personal, anecdotal narratives and words of advice with fellow classmates, family and friends.  Graduations also present an opportunity for school administrators and principals to share their own “words of wisdom” with their graduates and school communities.

William Robbins, principal of St. Paul School, Burlington, focused his address during the June 11 ceremony on the next four years.

“Please work hard in high school, but always remember to enjoy those special years. They will go much more quickly than you can imagine. Get involved in activities and study hard. You are preparing yourself for your future,” he said to the eighth grade graduates who will enter high school in the fall.

He reminded them to remain true to their character as they leave their elementary school years behind. 

“You will be missed at St. Paul School. Stay safe and healthy. Be good to your families and your friends and stay true to yourself. Care about each other. God bless you!”

On June 11 when Maureen Tuohy, principal of Our Lady of Sorrows School, Mercerville, addressed the Class of 2021, she focused her message on hope in relation to the many challenges that were faced due to the pandemic.

“There is a quote from Pope Francis that is so relevant to this situation: ‘I plead with you – never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.’ You never did give up, and this is one of my greatest wishes for you, as well as one of the lessons from the pandemic: always have hope, because things will get better, they will improve. Sometimes, when you are in the midst of a situation, it’s hard to see an outcome clearly or identify anything positive. That’s when hope is most important, and you need to hold onto it and never give up. You are strong, you have proven your resiliency, and you have people around you who love and support you. Always have hope, never become discouraged.”

She also spoke to the Class of 2021 about the importance of their faith.

“You will find when life is difficult, when situations seem uncertain, when you don’t have someone you can talk to, this faith in God will support you. Remember to talk to Jesus and keep him by your side, and continue to develop that friendship so that through the good times and the challenging times, you feel his presence, comfort and protection - you will be grateful you did.”