Pacelli graduates throw their caps in the air after commencement Wednesday night at St. Edwards Catholic Church.  Photos by Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
Pacelli graduates throw their caps in the air after commencement Wednesday night at St. Edwards Catholic Church.
Photos by Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

Stepping toward the future: Pacelli seniors excited for what’s next after graduation

Published 10:32am Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pacelli seniors took a big step on Wednesday evening as they made their way down the aisle of St. Edwards Catholic Church to receive their high-school diplomas.

Sixteen seniors and five foreign-exchange students received their diplomas and certificates of completion from Pacelli High School Wednesday night.

“High school’s been a great time,” said Madeline Kraemer, one of two valedictorians for the 2013-14 school year.

Kraemer said she loved attending Pacelli for several reasons, including the close, community feel, but she was excited to graduate.

“I’m excited to go forward into the future and hopefully do some good in the world,” she said.

She prepared letters to each of her classmates outlining the different gifts and talents she noticed in them over the years. She said in a class of 200 students, this would not have been possible, but it worked in a small class.

Anne Holtz gives her commencement address.
Anne Holtz gives her commencement address.

She plans to go to Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., to seek a double major in secondary education with an emphasis in mathematics and theology.

“I hope to teach in a Catholic school somewhere and help out where I can,” Kraemer said. “Following in the footsteps of the good role models I’ve had.”

During her speech, Kraemer told how Pacelli had been a safe place for the students, but even though they couldn’t stay, they would always hold what Pacelli had given them.

“It is our turn to build a better future,” Kraemer said. “We have learned right from wrong, and now it is our time to defend justice and make our world a better place.”

Kraemer wasn’t the only student excited to graduate.

Jacob Herold said he was ready to go out and see what the world had to offer. He attended Pacelli since he was in kindergarten and received an alpha/omega award for attending his whole school career.

“Pacelli is very rewarding,” Herold said. “I got involved with my faith more at Pacelli.”

Pacelli graduate Madeline Kraemer gives her valedictorian address.
Pacelli graduate Madeline Kraemer gives her valedictorian address.

Herold took some classes at public school during his career, but he said he preferred Pacelli to the public school district. He liked that there was more attention and one-on-one help from teachers due to the smaller class sizes.

Herold plans to attend Riverland Community College in Austin next year to finish his generals.

From there he hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree in human resources. After he participated in the Step Up program and was able to experience work in the human resources office at Hormel Foods Corp., he decided that it was something he wanted to pursue as a career.

“I’m really excited [for] a new chapter in my life,” Herold said.

The students weren’t the only ones expecting great things for the future. Pacelli’s teachers and faculty was also there to support the students.

Principal Mary Holtorf was happy for the seniors and excited to see what would become of each student. Holtorf said she hopes the students can take what they learned and go do good in the world, helping people however they are able.

“It’s an exciting time for families,” Holtorf said.

New this year, the school was able to stream the graduation ceremony live using high school cube which is similar to technology used in their sporting events, so family members and friends who could not be at the ceremony could still watch the students graduate. Holtorf said she is glad to see so many students graduating from the Pacelli Catholic School system.

“Pacelli is a great addition for Austin,” Holtorf said. “To know there’s a faith-based school and to know that our students are ready and have God behind them makes [graduation] a really special night.”

Jacob Herold accepts his diploma from Pacelli President Jim Hamburge during commencement Wednesday night at St. Edwards Catholic Church.
Jacob Herold accepts his diploma from Pacelli President Jim Hamburge during commencement Wednesday night at St. Edwards Catholic Church.

Sign in to Comment | Need help commenting? Click here

Editor's Picks