The Portsmouth Music Hall was a sea of blue and white pride yesterday afternoon. For the second consecutive year, the St. Thomas Aquinas High School Commencement Ceremony was held on the stage of this iconic venue. The Hall’s elegant ambience set the tone for a beautiful end note that lauded 107 graduating seniors.
Our Saints marched onstage to their final performance together and were challenged by Valedictorian Keshav Joshi to always mold the future “with [your] own hands. Never become complacent because you are the final artist of your life.” Principal Collins reminded the guests that, “Over their four years at St. Thomas Aquinas, these young men and women have grown and matured under the tutelage of some of the finest teachers anywhere. They will embark on great careers, inspired by the knowledge and wisdom learned in the classroom. But the true measure of greatness will be found in their hearts… the compassion they have learned from our devotion to our Catholic mission.”
One by one, each member of the Class of 2018 collected his/her diploma, a token of academic completion but a deeper symbol of a four-year journey of formation, fortitude and friendship. Late night study sessions, daily banter with faculty members, encouragement on the athletic fields and emotional support during a play’s final rehearsal. These are snippets of the overall high school experience. It is not the days, dates, test scores or field trips that fuel the fond memories. It is the relationships that were formed among these adolescents at a time in life where idealism is the norm and energy is a given.
As the Class of 2018 departed from the Thomas Laighton boat tour in Portsmouth in the early hours Monday, hugs and tears revealed the genuine affection these Saints have for one another. As difficult as it is to say goodbye, however, it is in the sting that one realizes one’s heart has been touched and, in this, there is a divine gift.
Congratulations to each and every member of our 2018 Senior Class. We will miss you, we will root for you and we will pray for you – always.
God Bless the Saints.