EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 25, 2013

CCHS graduation: 'Never forget how proud of you we are'

By Yadira Betances

---- — LAWRENCE — Central Catholic’s Class of 2013 made their parents, teachers and faculty members proud through their accomplishments, which include receiving more than $3.5 million in scholarships, volunteering more than 13,300 hours in nearly 100 local agencies, raising a total of $105,000 for cancer research through the Catwalk4Cancer and helping 51 annually celebrate Christmas through the school’s Christmas Project.

“Beloved members of the Class of 2013, whatever else changes in the years ahead, never forget how proud of you we are,” said Central Catholic President Brother Thomas Long. “And long after you rise at the end of this ceremony never forget: you will always have a home at ‘Dear CCHS.’”

During its 75th commencement exercises, 314 young men and women graduated from Central Catholic High School last night in the Memorial Gymnasium — 98.3 percent of them are going onto college. Celebrating with them were members of the Class of 1963.

In his Valedictory address, Simon Serrano of Wilmington told the audience why he had mixed feelings about graduating from Central Catholic High School. While he said he was not going to miss the 7 a.m. labs or the rigorous track workouts, he realized why he was sad to be leaving.

“High school was quite challenging, but it was not impossible, because everyone worked through it together. In class, we taught each other and learned from each other. In athletics, we pushed each other beyond our comfort zones,” said Serrano, who maintained a 4.9 grade point average while being a member of the cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams. Serrano will attend Yale University on a scholarship to study Applied Mathematics.

Salutatorian Emily Lynne Round of Methuen, will attend Northeastern University on a scholarship and will study Physical Therapy. She reminded fellow graduates not to forget the memories made at Central and the lessons they learned.

“Central is a place where hundreds of students and faculty come together to make a family. Central has taught us how excel in and out of the classroom. It has given us the guidance to strive and persevere for what we want. It has even given us the ability to discover who we are and what we want to do,” said Round, a National Merit Scholarship Finalist and the recipient of the Harvard Book Award.

Members of the graduating class had been accepted into more than 300 colleges, including Rochester Institute of Technology, Suffolk University, Merrimack College, the University of Massachusetts and the College of the Holy Cross.

Many will be attending on full or partial scholarships — like Colleen Slein of Salem, N.H., who received the U.S. Air Force Academy full four appointment as well as the Brother Florentius Memorial Award, the highest award given to a graduate annually — and Khalil Matta, who will be attending Merrimack College on a full scholarship.

Jamahl Lopez of Lawrence describes his years at Central as “amazing.”

”I met so many people and became part of a great family and how close we came together during hard times,” he said.