POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- The skies matched the sea of blue caps and gowns last Saturday as 152 graduates of Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Poughkeepie marched up to collect their diplomas.
Commencement exercises started with the singing of "The National Anthem" by seniors Christian D’Agostino, Bailey Nichols, Victoria Smith, Victoria Vacca, Julia Wheeler and David Williams.
Our Lady of Lourdes is a private, Roman Catholic school.
For the first time in the school’s recent history, two students shared the title of salutatorian, Samantha Basilone and Victoria Smith.
The valedictorian was Katha Sikka. In her remarks, Sikka urged her fellow grads to “surround yourself with people who remind you of the Lourdean community.”
“Use your voice, stay true to yourself,” she said.
Sikka also quoted Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five,” saying her wish for them was “everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.”
Principal Catherine Merryman quoted Beatle Paul McCartney in her message to grads, reminding them to “let it be.”
“God is good and will always make his message known to us, if we are willing,” Merryman said, adding, “nothing is impossible, no problem is too big … as long as you are willing to ‘let it be.’ ”
Nia Johnson and Patrick Bubel both received the Faculty Award.
The ceremony wrapped up with the senior ensemble performing "Ave Maria" and Msgr. James Sullivan providing the benediction.
Grads then proceeded to the front of the school for the traditional throwing of the caps.
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