Students and families alike look forward to graduation as the culmination of years of hard-work and dedication. With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing the possibility of an in-person graduation this year, Cathedral High School set out to celebrate the class of 2020 the best way possible under the circumstances. The school community came together for a virtual commencement ceremony, complete with all of the traditional elements of the celebration: speeches, awards, the reading of names, and prayers for the graduates.

“It was important to us that we honored and celebrated our amazing graduates the best way we could under the circumstances,” said Head of School Dan Carmody. “We’re proud of the class of 2020 for staying resilient and true to our school motto of strength in the face of adversity.”

Monsignor Kevin J. O'Leary offers a prayer of invocation at Commencement

Monsignor Kevin J. O’Leary, Rector of the Cathedral, offers the invocation to begin commencement.

The virtual commencement streamed simultaneously to hundreds of households through YouTube Premiere on the morning of Saturday, May 30 at the same time the school would have originally held the commencement ceremonies in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Monsignor Kevin J. O’Leary, Rector of the Cathedral and school trustee, opened the virtual event with an invocation. “We pray for our Cathedral graduates today and lift them up before you, O God,” Monsignor O’Leary prayed with all those who watched. “They are a gift to us and to so many others.”

Paul Chisholm, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, speaks at commencement

Paul Chisholm, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, speaks during commencement

Graduates and their families and friends heard from familiar speakers including Head of School Dan Carmody and Principal Nampeera Lugira. In special recognition of his role this year, Mr. Carmody also highlighted the contributions of Paul Chisholm, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, who served the majority of this school year as Interim Head of School.

Salutatorian Adama Bangura opened thanking families, faculty, and God for getting the class through the end of such a turbulent school year. Her advice to fellow classmates included instructing them to “build each other up, not tear down…” and pointing out that “service [to others] teaches us about compassion and understanding.”

The school included recognition for seniors who have stood out among their peers for their contributions while at Cathedral High School through four annual awards.

The Vigor in Arduis award, named for Cathedral High School’s motto (and also the episcopal motto of its founder, Cardinal William O’Connell) meaning “strength in the face of adversity” in Latin, is the institution’s highest honor to a senior. Reshaun Harris received this top award for distinguishing himself in all aspects of student life and by embodying gospel values.

Awards to other distinguished seniors included: the Spirit Award for enthusiasm and humanitarian action to Meyanni Arujo; the Covenant Award for valuing diversity and promoting harmony in the Cathedral community to Javon Harris; and the Service Award for routinely volunteering time and talent in the service of others to Tseday Robinson.

Donna Latson Gittens '70 Commencement Address

Donna Latson Gittens ’70 addresses the graduates as a member of the Golden Jubilee class.

The jubilee class of 1970 also marked the 50th anniversary of their own graduation from Cathedral High School. On behalf of her golden jubilee classmates, Donna Latson Gittens ’70, President and Founder of MORE Advertising, offered her remarks during the ceremony to her newest fellow alumni. “Cathedral is where my dreams began, where I received more than an education. I learned about leadership and life skills. Cathedral is where my values were reinforced and I learned how to live them,” she recounted. Encouraging the class of 2020, she told them that they are the silver lining amidst this pandemic. “You will be leading the way. So continue to stand up and show up. And be sure to give hugs to your family and friends who supported you on this educational journey. You are the silver lining… You are our emerging leaders.”

Valedictorian Katherine Then '20 addresses the graduates

Valedictorian Katherine Then ’20 addresses the graduates at commencement

Valedictorian Katherine Then, the senior with the highest cumulative grade point average, closed the ceremony with more encouragement for her fellow graduates. She quoted the Prophet Jeremiah (cf. Jer 29:11): “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Expressing her trust in the perseverance and strength of her classmates, Katherine also added, “What I love most about our grade is the love and support we have for one another…. we aren’t just classmates, we are family.”

All 57 members of that class of 2020 family joined the ranks of Cathedral High School’s alumni—the 17th consecutive class to earn both 100% graduation and 100% admission to college. The graduates are all going to a wide variety of colleges and universities both close to home and far away, from Stonehill College to Denison University and so many others. Two of the seniors also earned full four-year scholarships to college from the Posse Foundation.

Principal Nampeera Lugira speaking to the Class of 2020

Principal Nampeera Lugira speaking to the Class of 2020

Principal Nampeera Lugira, who also read the names of each of the graduates, closed by quoting the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Philippians (cf. Phil 4:4): “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” She urged the graduates to “Always seek and hold on to the joy in everything.”

Graduates of the Cathedral High School Class of 2020:

  • Kamila Abreu *
    Lekbira K. Altenor
    Kiara M. Ansley-Hinds *
    Meyanni A. Araujo *
    Adama H. Bangura *
    Thali Barros
    Alexander E. Bodden
    Kyra J. Brewer
    Malik Brooms
    Raphael D. Brown, II
    Fatima I. Caceres
    Kayla J. Cumberlander
    Mackenzie Daleba
    Jurney P. de Gale
    Tyler Deslouches
    Elijah C. Dodson
    Carl Dorsainvil
    Ismaelle Edmorin
    Wilfredo E. Falcon
    Ryan Feliz
    Kesean Figueroa
    Madeline Gomez
    Triston Hamilton
    Javon M. Harris
    Rasaun L. Harrison
    Annemelloune J. Jean
    Chris Jean-Louis
    Lamarie N. Jones
    Maya A. Lewis
    Andre Lopez
    Angel Maldonado
    Victoria S. Marrero
    Nayelis Martinez Pena
    Yaneiri Martinez
    Betzalee Matos
    Mayetha Museau *
    Miranda Navarro
    Tyrell D. Niles
    Cleason Noel
    Vianelys Nunez Urena *
    Nosa Osula
    Eumir J. Pena
    Gloria R. Pierre
    Rose-Andrey Pluviose
    Tseday E. Fernandes Robinson *
    Denisse Rodriguez Beltran
    Jewel Rodriguez
    Nikioly Soto Lara
    James Spencer, Jr.
    Aisha C. Straker
    Yoster Tapia
    Joausto Carvalho Teixeira
    Katherine N. Then Castillo *
    Ariana Vanderhoop
    Esmeralda Vicente
    Amari White
    Lullia M. Yemane

* Members of the National Honor Society

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