Alumni Stories

A Graduation Speech

Ben Foster, 8th Grade Graduate

Good Evening, parents and family, Monsignor Joe, Father Rolly, Father Edward, Deacon Dennis, Seminarian Phil, Mrs. Wiley, teachers and faculty members, and the Holy Trinity class of 2009. We are here to send our class on our way as we prepare to enter high school, and face new, more difficult challenges. We pray that our Catholic faith will guide us through these challenges and that we remain faithful in a world that has become more and more secular. We are growing up in an interesting period in time, and we are learning that we have the power to control where it takes us. I came to Holy Trinity in 6th grade. I planned on attending the public school in my neighborhood, but my parents decided that they wanted me to have a Catholic education, which I am thankful for now more than ever. Walking to school from our car on the first day of 6th grade, I was so nervous. All that was going through my head was, “ What am I doing here? I know about 3 people in this whole school, and yet here I am.” My attitude slowly changed throughout that day, and by the final bell, I felt at home, welcomed, and that this was the place I was supposed to be. I didn’t realize before that first day how incredibly lucky I was to be at such a great school, where I can pray and talk about God. We are so remarkably blessed to have this Catholic background, this Catholic foundation as we enter high school and later college.

This night we look back at all the memorable moments that this class has experienced. We will never forget these memories from our time at Holy Trinity. How could one forget the 8th grade retreat and the lessons given by Phil the Seminarian, Deacon Dennis, and Father Edward? Or perhaps when Mrs. Wilson dropped the cake given to her by Mrs. Bertrand and 8-1 on her birthday? Unfortunately, not all of these memories are joyful. As a class, we have also experienced loss, with the retirement of our beloved teacher Mrs. Stripsky.

We have had to come together to console and support each other with the passing of your classmate Richie Gonzalez, and of Jessica’s dad, Mr. Aaron Manley. It seems like whenever there is tragedy here, our Holy Trinity family pulls together to help one another through difficult times. This class has learned from these examples, and we will take these lessons of love with us. This too has been part of our education here. We can remember these moments as if they were yesterday. My hope is that none of us forget the times we have spent together as a class, because after today, we will not be together as a class ever again. We must cherish the times we have together, because these times are short-lived. At the 8th grade retreat, the Salesian Brother told us about ten times, “You will run into the same people over and over, but some you will never see again.” When I think about that now, I know that he’s right. I am sure the awareness that you might not see the person standing next to you, graduating with you, ever again, makes you sad, especially if you’ve been here since Kindergarten. It is my hope that we try to stay in touch with each other, not only so that we remain friends, but also that we may remember the moments we have spent together.

Today is the day to… “ Say what we need to say.” Tonight we look forward, to our futures in high school. We wonder what it might be like, at the bottom of the food chain after only being at the top for such a short time. We hope that the lessons we have learned here, both academic and spiritual, will help us to succeed. And we also look toward the experiences we will have, the new friends we will make, and the new and different changes that will take place as we begin the transition to the 9th grade. The circumstances will change, the environment will change, and the ways we handle everyday life will change. The challenges we will face will yield more important and life-changing results than they did in our time here at Holy Trinity. Whatever we face, however, I am sure that with the life lessons we have learned and our Catholic education, we can overcome these trials with grace. That is what they truly are: Trials of our faith, and trials of our integrity. How we deal with these difficulties indeed defines what kind of a person we are.

We often hear the phrase, “practice makes perfect.” We may think that this phrase only applies to sports, hobbies, and academics, but it applies to a much larger concept: our faith. In practicing our faith, we fortify and strengthen our relationship with God. As we leave middle school, and move on to high school, college, and beyond, it may become more and more difficult to practice our faith because little by little the responsibility of practicing our faith will be shifted from our parent’s shoulders to our own. We will be confronted with obstacles that we must overcome in order to preserve our relationship with God. It is my hope, as I mentioned earlier, that the things that we have learned at Holy Trinity will strengthen our mission to stay closer to God and to triumph over the challenges we will face in the future.

Tonight we are saying our goodbyes to this period of our life, and moving on to the next one. We have started to learn that we are building our future by the decisions that we make.

Before I finish, I would like to recognize all of the teachers who taught this class at one time or another. Without your support, effort, and faith in this class, we would not be standing here as the people we are today. You have prepared us for our next big challenge. You cannot imagine how grateful we are, for all of the hard work and care you put into this class. Thank you and may God bless you. We’ll try to make you proud.

And finally I would like to recognize all of the graduates. We made it! Please give them a round of applause.

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