Bishop Maginn High School Valedictorian Katharine Lewis and Salutatorian Grace Ryan.
Bishop Maginn High School Valedictorian Katharine Lewis and Salutatorian Grace Ryan.

By Katharine Lewis

It is such an honor to be speaking to you all as the Bishop Maginn High School Class of 2021 valedictorian. It is amazing how fast time has flown by and just how much has changed in our four years together.

During our time here at Maginn, we have learned so many things that will help guide our paths in the future. One of the most important lessons we have learned is how to live our faith beyond Sundays. To truly live our faith means to live honestly, compassionately and with open hearts and minds every day.

Learning in as unique a setting as we have has also given us a greater appreciation for community. Our community is built on the values of service and acceptance. These values are the heart of Griffin spirit.

As the newest alumni of Bishop Maginn High School, we are tasked with bringing the lessons we have learned and the values that have been instilled in us to the next communities we join; to spread the Griffin spirit to all we meet.

These lessons will undeniably serve us well. However, I believe through the past 15 months of the coronavirus pandemic, we have learned so much about finding our strength.

On top of the struggles we faced as a community, we each faced our own battles mentally, emotionally and even physically. With so much uncertainty in the world around us, this has certainly not been an easy senior year.

All that we have been through reminded me of one of my favorite quotes: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

I invite you all to consider what your light has been this past year. 

It doesn’t matter how many you can think of, this is about the quality, not quantity.

When you have your light, hold it close to you, cherish it and never let it go. 

This light is your strength.

It has helped you through so much and is now a part of who you are.

With this light by your side, live your life and enjoy it.

To all my fellow graduates, congratulations — we did it!

 ‘We have become stronger’

By Grace Ryan

Hello senior class, Bishop Maginn faculty and staff, Bishop Scharfenberger, Superintendent Virgiglio, Bishop Maginn School Board, family members and friends. Today is a special day because of all we have been through and what we have accomplished leading up to this day.

Ever since I can remember I have been afraid of change and trying new things. For my entire life I have gone to Catholic school, had most of the same friends for years and always stayed in my comfort zone. Leaving high school and going off to college is one of the hardest changes for us to face, especially after all we have been through together. There aren’t enough words to describe how difficult this past year has been, in so many ways. We have been separated, many of us have learned virtually, and we have had our senior year become something completely different than anyone could have imagined. It has been without a doubt the hardest year of my life and I would assume the same for my fellow seniors. Through all of this we’ve somehow perservered and I believe we have become stronger, more resilient and better. If we can survive all that life has thrown at us up until this point, then we can survive anything.

As we move into this next chapter of our lives, it feels so surreal that our high school experience has come to an end. These past four years have been full of ups, downs and memories that I know will last for a lifetime. 

At Bishop Maginn we’ve become a part of a family and I am so grateful for that. Every Mass right here in this Cathedral, every service opportunity provided to us by Mrs. Silverstein, and all of the good that has been done for us by so many people. Mr. Tolan, the other faculty and staff of Maginn, the Diocese and our families are some of the people on the long list of people we have to thank for supporting us throughout our school careers.

We should be very proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished throughout high school, despite all of the obstacles and circumstances that have made it that much more difficult. Every one of us is going off into the world to use what we’ve learned at Bishop Maginn and create our own futures. This is our time to grow and decide for ourselves what we want the rest of our lives to be, because this moment only comes once in a lifetime.

As quoted by Dr. Seuss, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” I can’t speak for the whole class, but I can say for myself that the future is scary and uncertain. One day we will look back at the things we considered important and everything that has happened to us in high school and it will seem like a lifetime ago. This milestone is one of many that will come and go in the blink of an eye, and I am glad to be able to share it with my fellow seniors and everyone here today. The worst appears to be over, but the support and encouragement we have been given makes me believe that we are far more capable of overcoming any other obstacles we might face than we think. So until we wake up tomorrow and have to deal with the reality and all the future brings, let’s stay in this moment when we walk across the altar and know with certainty that we did it. I close with a message for my classmates so eloquently said by Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you feel and smarter than you think.” Congrats my fellow seniors, let’s go out and show them what we’re made of.