Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy graduated 66 students from the Class of 2017 on June 8.
Valedictorians Allison Samuels from the Lower Mills Campus, Vy Phan from the Neponset Campus and Jovanny Ortiz from the Columbia Campus, each led the crowd in the welcome, the Pledge of Allegiance and Prayers of Petition.
Two special awards are given out at graduation: the St. Brigid of Kildare Award and the Spirit of Saint John Paul II Award. The St. Brigid of Kildare Award is an award that remembers the legacy of the religious sisters of the Archdiocese of Boston, who opened and staffed Catholic schools for over a century. The award is given to a graduating student from each campus who has grown in integrity, character and love of God, exemplifying the life of St. Brigid of Kildare and the legacy of the religious sisters of the Archdiocese of Boston. The recipients were Djayden Brito from Columbia, Lufus Philip from Lower Mills and Anyssa Mitchell from Neponset.
The Spirit of Saint John Paul II Award is presented to a student from each campus who was selected by his or her peers as the student who most consistently fostered respect for all, exemplified the virtues of peace, love and patience and has lived his or her time at the Academy in the spirit of Saint John Paul II.
The award was presented to Reanna Bhagwandeen from Columbia, Brianna Dorcely from Lower Mills and Marc Murphy from Neponset.
This year, 100 percent of graduates were accepted to a high school of choice and received over $584,000 in financial awards. Some of the top high schools in the state will be destination for the graduates, including Archbishop Williams, Boston Community Leadership Academy, BC High, Boston Latin School, Cardinal Spellman, Cathedral High School, Catholic Memorial, City on a Hill Charter School, Cristo Rey, Fontbonne Academy, Matignon, St. Joseph Prep and Xaverian.
Regional director Kate Brandley addressed the graduates, reminding them, “You are called to use your gifts and talents to make the world a better place. We need your intelligence, creativity, musical and art ability to solve our world’s problems.”