Pacelli grads urged to be overachievers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 5, 2003

Pacelli High School graduated its smallest class in history Wednesday night, saying goodbye to 12 students in an intimate ceremony at Queen of Angels Catholic Church.

"This class will always be very special," Principal Norman Blaser said, telling the family and friends of graduates about the unique bond this small class shared throughout their educational lives together.

Valedictorian Mark Van Winter, who transferred to Pacelli from Rochester Mayo High School after his sophomore year, told his classmates how welcome they had made him feel.

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"You have helped me realize all the great things about being part of this community," he said.

Because of the small size, speakers were able to share specific experiences they had with each of their classmates. Salutatorian David Judd went down the list of graduates one by one, telling about his individual memories.

He said the students were high-achievers.

"I am sure we have succeeded in being the best we can be for 2003," he said.

Benjamin Murray, a 1992 graduate of Pacelli, told the students how his Catholic education guided him through career and life decisions.

"You are all different, because you received the gift of a Catholic school education," he said.

After working as an accountant for a number of years, Murray gave up a high-paying job to help start up a small Catholic school for troubled youth in the Twin Cities. He said the priorities he learned at Pacelli helped him decide to take on the endeavor.

"The most important thing in life is that you call to mind every day faith, community and service," he said.

Laura Christopherson, the senior class president, said her four years at Pacelli were "awesome."

She said the educational experience was better than many students have had at bigger schools.

"The one-on-one experience with the teachers, it felt like we were more in-depth with things and learned a lot more," she said.

Chase Miller said he wants to study computer engineering next year. He will either go to Minnesota State Moorhead or Riverland Community College in Austin next year.

He said high school was great, but it went much more quickly than he had expected.

"I remember when I was a freshman, seeing all the people three years older than me graduate, and it doesn't seem like that long ago," he said.

Matt Merritt can be reached at 434-2214 or by email at