Music by the Loyola Band, conducted by Director of Bands Mr. Matthew Jackson, accompanied the Class of 2019 as they processed, dressed in black or white dresses and white tuxedos jackets in accordance with a time-honored Loyola tradition. The ceremony began with the national anthem, led by the Honors Chamber Ensemble. Rev. L. Adam De Leon, SJ, faculty member at Loyola High School in Detroit, delivered the invocation.
Loyola Academy Principal Mr. Charles W. Heintz welcomed guests. “As many of you know, this was my first year as principal, and I couldn’t have asked for a better class,” he reflected. “I’ve felt a cohesive energy with this group from the start. There have been many moments of triumph and we’ve had our fair share of setbacks, but this class has demonstrated a tremendous amount of resiliency, leadership and grit.” Addressing the Class of 2019 he said, “I am excited for you. I am inspired by your dreams. I know the future is bright for this class.”
Heintz then introduced valedictorian Bridget E. Hickey, headed to Saint Louis University in the fall. In her valedictorian’s address, Hickey encouraged her classmates to savor life’s small moments of grace and joy. “At the Sending Forth Mass, Father McGrath called us all to live ‘big lives.’ However, he didn’t tell us specifically how to do that,” Hickey began. “I soon realized that you don't have to do big things to live a ‘big life.’ A big life is the culmination of a thousand little moments.”
After the valedictorian’s address, Mr. Heintz presented the Graduate at Graduation Award, given annually to two well-rounded seniors, one young man and one young woman, who best resemble the Jesuit ideal of being intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving, physically fit and committed to doing justice. The 2019 Graduate at Graduation Award recipients were Sophia D’Agostino, who will attend Vanderbilt University next year, and Jack Lynch, who will study at Cornell University.
Mr. Heintz then introduced the 2019 Educator of the Year award, which recognizes a teacher for his or her outstanding contribution to the formation of students as voted by the senior class. The award was presented to Mrs. Colleen Whalen of the English department.
Before diplomas were conferred, Loyola Academy President Rev. Patrick E. McGrath, SJ, delivered his remarks to the Class of 2019. “I am filled with hope today because we are celebrating the fact that these Ramblers are about to be set loose on that world so desperate for community, connection, justice and hope. I am filled with hope because you are Jesuit educated and you know in the sinew of your souls that God is to be experienced in all things and God will companion you every step of the journey.”
Diplomas were presented by Fr. McGrath and by Mr. Roger P. Hickey ’79, chairman of Loyola’s Board of Trustees. In keeping with a cherished Loyola Academy tradition, sons and daughters and grandchildren of Loyola and Marillac alumni—and those of trustees, faculty and staff—received their diplomas from these individuals, handed down from one generation to another. Assistant Principal for Student Services Mrs. Lauren Bonner and Mr. Tim Kane ’86 of the English Department read the names of graduates.
A roar of applause erupted after the last diploma was conferred and a spirit of excitement swirled Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mr. Heintz thanked the Class of 2019 for its extraordinary leadership and offered them a reminder: “Now the real work begins. To humbly carry forth God’s will for your life, using your gifts, your knowledge, your work ethic and your heart for service and social justice.”
As the graduates processed out, eager to meet with family and friends, words from Fr. McGrath’s earlier remarks still echoed: “You are daughters and sons of Ignatius and so you seek those crossroads, those intersections of the human experience: arts, economics, politics, medicine, business. Those expressions of human desire and hope are not to be feared but to be engaged. God is to be experienced in all things. The world is charged with the grandeur of God. Seek that. Find that. Celebrate that. Labor in that.”
To watch a full broadcast of the 2019 graduation ceremony on RamblerStream—your pass to free, HD presentations of Loyola Academy Masses, special events and more—click here.