‘Never forget who you are’ – Pacelli graduates Class of 2018

Published 8:32 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Pacelli High School Class of 2018 took another step forward Wednesday evening.

Donning their caps and gowns, the excited seniors marched into St. Edwards Catholic Church to receive their diplomas, symbols of the years of hard work each student put into reaching the momentous milestone. When all was said and done, they were no longer high school students, but graduates entering the next phase of life.

Family and friends of the 15 graduating seniors sat throughout the pews to celebrate the achievement.

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“It’s kind of a rush of emotions,” said co-valedictorian Daisy Hernandez. “It’s that feeling of wanting to get out and live your life, but also nostalgia is kicking in.”

It was a sentiment with which co-valedictorian Shane DeSilva agreed.

“I’m proud of it,” he said. “I’ve been at this school my whole life and it’s crazy I’m done now.”

Laura Sheedy adjusts the cap of Pacelli graduate Ding Zhang before the start of commencement Wednesday night at St. Edwards Catholic Church.

Both Hernandez and DeSilva plan to attend college; Hernandez at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, where she plans to double major in biology and gender, women and sexuality studies before entering medical school, and DeSilva at UCLA, where he plans to study business in the music industry.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Jeanne Sheehan, a former trustee whose sons graduated with the Pacelli Classes of 2005 and 2009.

“Never forget who you are, and never forget whose you are,” she said. “God always walks beside you. He’s been with you through your 12 years of elementary and high school and He’ll walk beside you for the rest of your life if you just keep Him in your friend group.”

The students had positive messages for each other as they prepared to move on with their lives.

“Keep pushing forward,” said salutatorian Sonia Ramirez, who plans to be a pre-pharmacy student at Iowa State University. “Times may be hard, but there’s always going to be someone there to help pick you up. Always work hard; find what you’re passionate about and work hard for that.”

That message of pushing forward was echoed by Hernandez.

“Have hopes and aspiration and work for them, but be realistic with yourself,” she said. “Set standards you know you’re capable of reaching,”

For DeSilva, the message was to not forget about the moment.

“Enjoy now,” he said. “Take everything that’s happening now and don’t worry about the future.”

Pacelli salutatorian Sonia Ramirez gives her address Wednesday night during the schools commencement at St. Edwards Catholic Church.
Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com