Bishop Hendricken High School hosted its 62nd Commencement Exercises on Monday, June 12, with the 143 members of the Class of 2023 being encouraged to face an unpredictable future with integrity and …
Bishop Hendricken High School hosted its 62nd Commencement Exercises on Monday, June 12, with the 143 members of the Class of 2023 being encouraged to face an unpredictable future with integrity and the desire to create change.
The ceremony was conducted in the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul, close by the tomb of the school’s clerical namesake; in a longstanding tradition, the tomb of Bishop Thomas F Hendricken was adorned with flowers at the beginning of the graduation.
The outgoing Hawks were addressed by several alumni and classmates, with keynote speaker Col. Lawrence Gallogly reminding them that life is full of unexpected turns: “believe me,” said Gallogly, “in 1975, there wasn’t anyone at Hendricken who thought a graduate named Bob Marciano would ever become president of the school.”
After a laugh from all present (including Fr. “Bob”), Gallogly went on to clarify that few members of his own Class of 1977 would have expected the course that his own career in the Air Force and defense research ended up taking.
“Life is never a straight line,” he said. “But the greatest lesson I learned in my flying career is that you can’t worry about the runway behind you. Focus on the runway in front of you. That’s where all the opportunity lies.”
This is a lesson which the past four years have already done much to instill in the graduates, whose high school careers were eclipsed by the pandemic. Finding “miracles” in the midst of this chaos was the theme of the valedictory speech, offered by Atul Thyvalappil (a name which should already be familiar to Beacon readers, as Atul wrote for the Beacon for his senior experience). In particular, Thyvalappil noted the positive and negative ways that technology has shaped his high school experience.
“Tonight we join a very unique community of alumni who can claim membership to Hendricken's short-lived but profoundly impactful ‘virtual school,’” he noted. “From Microsoft Teams to the more recent rise of ChatGPT - which you guys might have heard of, though I know you never use it - these strange few years brought us memories that very few of our brother alumni can reminisce about at their reunions.”
Thyvalappil also noted how the experience of going virtual taught graduates the value of real world connections and traditions, however. He seems well-poised to continue his reflections on technology in his academic career, as he will be attending Carnegie-Mellon’s Mellon College of Science in the Fall.
Salutatorian (and recipient of the Principal’s Leadership Award) Hunter Robbins encouraged his classmates to respond to a changing world by becoming catalysts of change themselves. Bound for Yale in the fall, Robbins spent his own time at Hendricken advocating against bullying and working with Hendricken’s School Leadership Team to develop more advanced protocols on the issue.
He said that all positive change begins with a desire to understand one another: “it's our duty as citizens to strive to round out what we know about others in society as best as possible,” Robbins said. “Every part of your neighbor's identity is a reflection of God's love for us, so let us truly appreciate this love.”
These themes were echoed in the closing prayer by retired Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans, who invoked the recently canonized St John Henry Cardinal Newman to encourage graduates to keep the faith in a tumultuous world. “We don't know why God created us, but
create us he did,” said Bishop Evans. “We may not know what plan he has for us, but a plan he has… and if you are faithful, then you will one day reap the rewards of that fidelity.”