Sacred Heart High School alumnus David Rouchka encouraged the Class of 2014’s 30 graduating seniors to be true to themselves, take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes during commencement ceremonies at the school on Sunday.
Rouchka, a member of the Class of 1961, delivered the commencement address, telling students: “Be your own person, believe in yourself, have a ‘can do’ attitude and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”
“When you stumble and fall, and you will, get back up and learn from your mistakes,” Rouchka said.
Mark Register, overseeing his last graduation as Sacred Heart principal, expressed confidence in the class, noting the tough competition for top honors among a class which includes 19 students with Grade Point Averages of 3.70 or higher; 14 with 4.0 GPAs; and 27 who have completed at least some college credit courses (the class logged some 500 hours of college credit in total).
“This is a very high quality group of young people,” Register said. “We honor a class that has made itself a tribute to our school.”
Shawn Grose, chairwoman of the School Advisory Board, echoed Register’s praise of the class, noting that graduating seniors have been examples for fellow students and have already had an impact on their community.
“You have been excellent role models for these younger students and I am proud of the example you have set for the Sacred Heart family,” Grose said.
Gabby Ebers, class salutatorian, celebrated the school’s faith-based education and the support of parents, faculty and staff.
“We are all now technically adults, even though some of us, including me, still feel like kids. With all the support, knowledge and motivation I have gained from home and Sacred Heart I feel like I can get through the many challenges college will throw at me,” Ebers said. “I think we realize how incredibly lucky we are that our parents chose to send us to this amazing, faith-based school where we are free to express our belief in God and pray openly. We truly are a family.”
Though she said she appreciates the grounding the school has given her and her fellow classmates, Ebers encouraged her fellow graduates to embrace new challenges.
“It is important to never forget where we came from, but it is also very important to branch out and explore the world outside of high school and Sacred Heart,” she said. “This isn’t the beginning of the end, it is not even close. This is a new journey.”
Class valedictorian honors were shared by Sydney Eichholz and Erin Holt who both earned identical 4.3214 GPAs through standard, weighted and dual-credit courses.
Eichholz quoted a fellow student, telling graduates to “slow down and enjoy these moments.”
“The future is exciting, but so is what is happening today,” Eichholz said.
In her remarks, Holt looked back to the motto the class chose for itself before starting as high school students: “Success isn’t something that just happens. Success is learned, success is practiced and success is shared.”
“Here at Sacred Heart we have truly learned to be successful. Now it is up to us to continue to practice and to share,” Holt said. “I know that everyone from this class will do amazing things with his or her future and I am so happy I got to be a part of it.”