On Saturday, May 21, Loyola Academy celebrated its 112th Commencement Exercises at Northwestern University’s Welsh-Ryan Arena. With family and friends present, 518 members of the Class of 2022 gathered one last time as classmates and departed as Loyola alumni.
Music accompanied the Class of 2022 as they processed, dressed in black or white dresses and white tuxedo jackets in accordance with a time-honored Loyola tradition. The ceremony began with the national anthem, and Rev. Stanisław Czarnecki, a member of the Society of Jesus and Loyola’s Campus Ministry Department, delivered the invocation.
Loyola Academy Principal Mr. Charles W. Heintz then welcomed guests: “So, Ramblers, here we are. The conclusion of one journey…the beginning of another… I’ll remember the Class of 2022 for the return to full, in-person instruction in the fall. Our return to campus provided you with the setting to celebrate and share your incredible gifts. It provided the moment to remind ourselves about what we find magical about this special community. And it provided the promise to re-enter a community where each of you is known and loved. Ramblers, God bless you! You have learned well. In the days to come, continue to heed the invitation of this special Ignatian Year: pay attention to each other, be grateful for your gifts and put love in action for a world that desperately needs it.”
Mr. Heintz then introduced valedictorian Peter Scheidt, headed to the University of Chicago where he will study physics in the fall. In his valedictorian’s address, Schedit commented on the unique spirit and culture at Loyola: “Life at Loyola is marked by memorable companionship. …Loyola gave us service opportunities through Arrupe, service learning, and even our clubs and sports teams, because having talents and gifts is only meaningful if they are put to good use….Let us continue to put the motto of women and men for others into action.”
Valedictorian Scheidt ended his remarks by sharing one of his greatest gifts—music. He played a beautiful sendoff of Bach’s cello suite No. 1 in G Major, Minuets 1 and 2.
After the valedictorian’s address, Mr. Heintz presented the Graduate at Graduation Award, given annually to two well-rounded seniors. The Grad at Grad award recognizes those who best resemble the ideal Jesuit high school graduate—someone who is religious, intellectually competent, physically fit, loving, open to growth, and committed to doing justice.
The 2022 Graduate at Graduation Award recipients are Irene Mensah, who will attend Marquette University next year, and John Phillips, who will study at Harvard University.
Mr. Heintz then introduced the 2022 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 Social Studies Teacher Mr. Brandon Ceplecha.
Before diplomas were conferred, Principal Heintz invited Loyola Academy President Rev. Patrick E. McGrath, SJ
, to address the Class of 2022—the final class that would graduate under his tenure as president. This touching video
, with reflections from students, faculty, staff and trustees, preceded his Commencement address:
“For almost five hundred years, Jesuit education has been setting the world on fire. As it challenges generation after generation to open their minds and engage the grandeur of God’s creation. This vision of Ignatius Loyola shapes the learning in Jesuit schools and makes it a distinctive and unique reality in the grand sweep of western civilization. In times of war and peace, prosperity and struggle, Jesuit schools have continued the holy quest of seeking God in our studies and opening our hearts and imaginations to God’s call. Now, Ramblers, Class of 2022, you bear this tradition to the world—this Jesuit way, our shared mission.”
Diplomas were presented by Fr. McGrath and Ms. Nancy E. Paridy, chair 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. Terri Jackson 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 the arena. Mr. Heintz thanked the Class of 2022 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 met with family and friends, words from Fr. McGrath’s earlier remarks still echoed: “Over these past four years through classes, retreats, athletics, cocurriculars, you have been formed in a unique way of seeing the world, a different way of proceeding. You now share the company of generations of graduates of Jesuit schools, a wildly diverse group of people. You have learned the power of reflection and prayer. You’ve come to know in some new way the companionship of God. I’m confident that we have prepared you well for college and so much more. Our world is deeply in need of creative, committed, caring people of faith. The world needs reflective people who can think deeply, engage creatively and respond compassionately. Our world needs you. You have made us proud. We thank God for you. And we congratulate you, Class of 2022. Godspeed.”
We wish all our graduates the best as they embark on the next chapter!
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