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The 188 members of Bethlehem Catholic HS’s class of 2018, dressed in their brown caps and gowns, proceeded into the high school’s filled-to-capacity auditorium the evening of June 6, eagerly awaiting the moment they would become high school graduates.

Following the procession of the graduates to the familiar tune of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” the ceremony began with an invocation given by school chaplain, the Reverend Kevin Bobbin, in which he prayed that God would stay close to the graduates and prepare them for what lies ahead.

When student speaker Nicholas Cenek took the podium, he asked his peers to compare their time spent at Bethlehem Catholic to the structure of a song. He reflected on their four years spent together, with freshman and sophomore years as the verses, junior year as the bridge and senior year as the final chorus.

“Imagine high school as a song, one that cannot be repeated once you press play,” he began.

As he led his fellow graduates through the structure of the song and memories from their four years together, he imparted lessons he learned along the way.

“I learned that life will knock you down and the way we handle ourselves through adversity will define us. … But time is all it takes to realize that God is placed into our lives to lift us up on our worst days. As the song is approaching the end, we should reflect and take the wisdom as our own,” he said. “Let’s not regret the things we have not done but rather allow for us to be content with the decisions we have made.”

At the conclusion of Cenek’s address, Principal Holly DeNofa, assistant to the principal Joseph Henrich and Deputy Superintendent Brook Tesche conferred diplomas on each deserving graduate, officially concluding their high school careers.

In the way that Cenek chose to look at his high school career through the framework of a song, student speaker Marisa Linsky addressed the packed auditorium through the lens of a camera.

“If you saw me walking through the halls of Bethlehem Catholic at some point this year, nine chances out of 10 I probably had a camera in my hand,” she began. “While looking to find inspiration to write this essay the day it was due, I grabbed my SD card labeled ‘Becahi 2017-2018’ and put it in my computer one last time.”

Linsky chose a few of her favorite photographs out of the 4,000 she had taken to share with the audience, describing what she captured and the memories made along the way.

“As I take one last look through my photos from this past year, I realize they are not just pictures. They are moments. Moments that have been made by the class of 2018, moments that will carry on after we have walked off this stage, the students of Bethlehem Catholic for the final time,” she said. “So to the class of 2018, congratulations, and may your hair always look good, your eyes always be open, your pictures in focus and your smile be as bright as the future.”

DeNofa and Henrich once again gathered on stage to present the academic awards, honoring students’ achievements during their four years at Bethlehem Catholic.

Once the awards were bestowed upon the recipients, DeNofa offered her remarks to the graduating class. Through reflecting upon her time in high school and feelings from her own graduation day, she gave the students a few last pieces of wisdom to take with them as they proceed to the next phases of their lives.

“Those memories are yours forever. You can think of them as often as you like. But tomorrow will be a regular day. … You may not feel it, but you’ll have entered into the next phase of your journey. You will have a ticket of admission on a new trip,” she said. “Countless lessons and courses prepared you for what lies ahead. … Whatever it is and whether you realize it or not, you learned a lot here at Becahi.”

DeNofa reminded students of several lessons they learned at Bethlehem Catholic, between wisdom imparted in the classroom, charitable behavior learned through service work and a strong sense of morality due to their religious faith and study.

She said, “I speak on behalf of the entire Becahi community when I tell you that we are profoundly proud of you and are confident that you will think [back on] your high school years with fond memories and that you will use your experiences, from which these memories were formed, to help mold you into the people you will become in the future.”

Rev. Bobbin returned to the podium to deliver the benediction, and once he was finished and the band had begun the recessional music, the graduates of the class of 2018 walked out of the auditorium and into the next phase of their lives.

Press photo by lori PatrickFollowing a commencement tradition, Bethlehem Catholic graduates move the tassels on their caps in unison from left side to right. They then descended the auditorium to the gymnasium, where they threw their caps in the air in celebration after removing their individual tassels.