Last Wednesday the JPCatholic Class of 2018 celebrated their upcoming graduation at Dr. Connolly’s home with current faculty and staff at the annual Senior Dinner. They shared light Hors D’Oeuvres, drinks, and fond words and quips about their three years at school.
The event began with Dr. Connolly giving a toast to all, which was followed by a healthy dose of insults from Fr. Andy and then the mic was subsequently passed around to all the graduating seniors. Students reminisced, speaking about their time at JPCatholic, their memories with friends who’ve come and gone, their favorite classes, and their gratitude to professors and mentors, both those remaining and those who have left.
Many students especially thanked Professor Riley and Professor Scoggins. Lexi Lovetere said, “I’d have to say any of Professor Riley’s classes…I ended up double emphasizing cause I loved his classes and I loved taking them. The Theology classes [as well]”. Nicolas Alayo agreed, saying that his favorite class was “probably Directing 2 [taught by Scoggins] or Writing and Pitching a Script [taught by Riley] or Writing for the Screen [also taught by Riley].”
For many, it’s been as much about the school work and the mentors as it’s been about the people, friends and community, and all those small moments in-between class projects. Lexi Lovetere said, “There’s a sense of home here. I’m going to miss the community of friends that I have…seeing them everyday. There’s a blessing in that.” When asked if she was going to miss her peers, holding back tears, Viva Valdez conceded “Oh, absolutely.”
When asked about his favorite class, Aaron McAfee commended Fr. Andy and the recently departed Dr. Peterson, and their immersive ways of teaching. “Probably one of Father Andy’s [classes] actually, Philosophy of God- and Journalism with Dr. Peterson.”
The professors attending the event had the opportunity to speak as well, congratulating the seniors and thanking them for their years spent together. Professor Scoggins said, “I’ve been privileged to watch you all grow as artists, but more than that, as women and men.” Max Hulburt, an alumnus of JPCatholic, noted how far students have brought the school since its conception. “It’s incredibly inspiring to see the work that continues to come out of JPCatholic.” Professor Riley added, “You guys are the people I have the opportunity to give myself to a little bit each week, and that has been, and continues to be a great, great privilege. So I thank you for that, and I commend you to that same kind of life.”
Although it is bitter leaving the friends and the community, the class of 2018 is ready to move on. Josh Shaffer said, “It’s a lot more sweet considering how much I want to get out.” Alayo added, “It’s the end of era of your life. Its time for something new. Its an adventure that you will never return back to [or want to turn back to].” When asked if he was sad to watch the senior class leave, Fr. Andy concluded, “I am not.”