Trevor Junquera/For The Recorder Principal Giovanni Virgiglio announces the special awards.
Trevor Junquera/For The Recorder The class of 2014 sings "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day.
Trevor Junquera/For The Recorder The 13 members of St. Mary's Institute's eighth-grade class held their commencement ceremony Thursday evening in St. Mary's Church, Amsterdam. Above, the Rev. Robert DeMartinis shakes hands with Joseph Tesiero Jr.
By CASEY CROUCHER
The Rev. Robert DeMartinis told St. Mary's Institute's class of 2014, during Thursday night's commencement ceremony, that they should not be afraid of the future.
"When Pope John Paul II was elected pope, on the balcony of St. Peter's Square, he looked at the thousands and thousands of people down below and he said to them, 'Do not be afraid.' And I'm saying that to you," DeMartinis said. "As you adventure further, please know that God is with you, our prayers are with you. Don't be afraid."
Thirteen eighth-grade students received their SMI diplomas at St. Mary's Church Thursday as the early evening sun illuminated the stained glass windows and the voices of the seventh-graders sang out in religious melody.
The students said good-bye to their closely knit group as they realized they would soon be split up by the halls and classrooms of Amsterdam High School.
Class salutatorian Katia Ryan urged her classmates to stay inspired in their faith and be the best versions of themselves.
"If we view faith as a part of us instead of a class we take in school we can accomplish much more because of that dedication," Ryan said. "We, as students, have been handed the tools to succeed and it is our duty to make it happen. If we dedicate our lives to being the best person we can be, we can inspire other people. As we exit through these doors tonight I want you to think, 'How can I be the best possible me?' Because inspiration is contagious."
Valedictorian Reagan Schwartz individually thanked each of the SMI staff members who helped her the most throughout her journey, and then she thanked her classmates.
"Last but farthest from least I'd like to thank my classmates," Schwartz said. "Not only have they been there through all of the major events in my life but they've also been my best friends. I don't regret a single moment I've spent with them. No matter what happens in our lives I'll never forget any of them. Thanks for the memories, SMI."
Principal Giovanni Virgiglio urged students to never give up.
"Life is very much like a camera," Virgiglio said. "How, you ask? Well, you focus on what's important, you capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't work out, you take another shot."
The ceremony concluded with the graduating class singing Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and their alma mater.
The graduating class included: Lina M. Capovani, Katarina Burke Everhardt, Jacob E. Fura, Nuria Gonzalez, Adisson Scott Hohenforst, Melissa Noriega Jaime, Michael A. Jesenski, Aubrey Justine Krohn, Lexus J.R. Makarowsky, Jacob Michael-William Marrone, Katia E. Ryan, Reagan K. Schwartz, and Joseph C. Tesiero Jr.