Incredibly, after three and a half years the race for valedictorian of Bishop Hendricken Class of 2012 is too close to be determined. John Kane and Ryan Sutyla entered the final semester of senior year tied with a career GPA of 3.93 out of 4.
Kane and Sutyla will be delivering speeches as valedictorian and salutatorian to their classmates and families at the graduation mass on June 8, but which of the two will be valedictorian won’t be known until after fourth quarter grades are finalized.
A total of 219 Hendricken seniors will receive their diplomas at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter & Paul. The ceremony starts at 5 p.m. The accomplishments of the class of 2012, including the work of Kane and Sutyla, have also come outside the classroom. Kane is an all-state volleyball player and Sutyla has won multiple gold medals at the state’s academic decathlon.
“My favorite memories are being on the court during the two volleyball state championships we won,” said Kane. Regarding the potential of becoming valedictorian, he humbly added that earning the title was never really his goal; he just wanted to work hard. His dedication has earned him a scholarship to Tulane University, where he will focus in pre-med and will most likely major in biology.
Sutyla will attend Hamilton College and is also considering a pre-med track with a major in chemistry.
Though they do not know who the valedictorian will be, other prestigious senior awards have been handed out at Hendricken. The Man of the Year Award was given to Rilwan Ilumoka. He is the senior class president, a member of the varsity basketball and volleyball teams, and has attended a recent school mission trip to Peru. He was selected through the voting of his classmates and teachers based on the criteria of who best lives out the school’s Christian mission.
The Athlete of the Year award went to Ryan Brannigan. The varsity quarterback is a six-time all-stater in football and track and was named MVP in Hendricken’s Super Bowl victory last fall.
The accomplishments of these students and their classmates have been noticed by the administration at Hendricken. School President John Jackson says while this class will certainly be remembered for their academic and athletic accomplishments, he is most proud of the way they have shown that they understand the importance of being in a Catholic school.
“In this class were leaders for many of Hendricken’s service projects, especially in the pro-life club,” said Jackson.
He especially noted the dedication and leadership of seniors Mitchell Clough, Zach Nault and Kevin Flaherty with the pro-life functions at Hendricken.
The class’ dedication to the school’s religious mission was evident in what they selected to be their senior gift. They chose the project of raising money for renovation that would create more space in the school’s chapel.
Senior guidance counselor Susan Wyatt agrees that the Class of 2012 is a special group. She remembers Principal Jay Brennan telling her of the friendliness of the class when she first arrived at Hendricken two years ago.
“The lasting legacy of this group will be the way the students have always supported each other,” she said.
Last fall, the class continually rallied together to show support for teachers and classmates in the midst of tragedies.
At the upcoming graduation, Auxiliary Bishop Kenneth Angell will preside over the mass and give a sermon. Jackson and Brennan will also accompany Kane and Sutyla in addressing the graduates.
Mark Vuono, who wrote this story, will also receive his diploma on June 8. He completed his work study experience at the Beacon yesterday.