Celebrating the Class of 2023: Inspiring Speeches and Memorable Moments

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As the Class of 2023 embarks on their new journey, we invite you to join us in celebrating this momentous occasion and to read and hear the words of wisdom and encouragement expressed during Scecina’s sixty-seventh commencement.

In addition to President Joe Therber’s address, the Class of 2023 live stream also features two outstanding student speeches. Valedictorian and Holy Spirit alumnus Mason Beriault delivers an inspiring speech about how we can all spark change through kindness and love. Mason is headed to the United States Military Academy at West Point to continue his education and serve his country.

Salutatorian Andrew Causemaker, an Our Lady of Lourdes alumnus, also shares his thoughts and reflections. Andrew’s speech offers insights into the experiences his class shared, persevering through the pandemic, and the loss of a classmate. His words are a poignant reminder of the importance of community through support during challenging times. Andrew plans to attend Purdue University in the fall.

The live stream also includes a warm welcome from several of our international students. Their unique perspectives and experiences add richness to the Scecina community, and we are grateful for their contributions.

Link to the Class of 2023 live stream.

We are thrilled to share these memorable speeches and moments with you, and we hope they inspire you as much as they inspired us. Thank you to the Scecina community for joining us in celebrating the Class of 2023 and their accomplishments!

Below is President Joe Therber’s Class 0f 2023 commencement speech.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023 and your loved ones!

To recognize and thank several important people and groups, I want to start with Monsignor Stumpf. 

Thank you, Monsignor, for your presence and your message, as well as the meaningful support that we receive from Archbishop Thompson, the archdiocesan administration that you lead, and the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.  

Second, family members and loved ones of the Class of 2023 – especially parents, grandparents, and guardians – thank you for the formation that you have brought to these graduates. They are a gifted group who stands on your shoulders and the shoulders of our Catholic Christian faith.   

If your child is the first child or first person in your family to graduate high school, we congratulate you!   

And a special thanks to the alumni, parents, and grandparents whose choices have resulted in 25 percent of this year’s graduating class being children and/or grandchildren of Scecina alumni – a very impressive figure! 

Third, East Deanery pastors and members of the Scecina Board of Directors, thank you for all you do. Your ministries and generous spirits bless our students and school community in countless ways.  

Fourth, thank you to our Scecina educators who have motivated, challenged, and believed in these graduates from day one. You see the God-planted dignity in every child. Would everyone on our Scecina faculty and staff who is here please stand – whether on the floor or in the bleachers with family members.

Finally, welcome and thank you to the Joe and Tracy Roller family, who may be joining us online in remembrance of Jonathan, their son, and Class of 2023 member, who journeyed home to God during his freshmen year.  

Mason and Andrew, thank you very much for the insights in your reflections as the class valedictorian and salutatorian. I am very impressed and think you got it exactly right. 

Mason, as you said, one person may not be able to solve world hunger or world peace, especially in a speech. Instead, you suggested that the Gospel message is not about being the best this or the wealthiest that, but about living in the right relationship with God, myself, and the people in my life so that when life draws to a close, we are the people who God intended us to be.   

As Andrew noted, your class has lived through storms of challenge and pain. The night of March 12, 2020, during your freshmen year, was when schools in many districts, including ours, suspended in-person operations because of the pandemic. Most schools’ plans at that time were to come back in a couple weeks after spring break – what little we all knew!  

In addition to challenges you have faced, your class has a vast number of talents, successes, and dreams. You are a gifted group of young people. Your academic, artistic, athletic, and other accomplishments are significant – God has given you much, your families and loved ones have helped to develop greatness within you, and now you begin the next chapters with great opportunity to be your best selves and significantly impact the world.  

As God and you turn those next pages, please remember the motto from Father Tom that you have heard at the start of every school day – to give that little extra. And please remember that it does not mean to give just a little. It means to give all that you can and then give that little extra that makes all the difference as you work toward a goal; resolve a challenge in school, work, military service, and relationships; or strengthen your faith.   

In conclusion, Father Thomas Scecina was a heroic and even saintly United States Army chaplain during World War II. When he could have avoided boarding the prisoner of war ship that led to his agonizing death, he went directly into his storm and emerged on the other side, seeing the blue sky of God in heaven and this high school named in his honor and memory.       

As we celebrate this Memorial Day weekend, especially in honor of those who, like Father Tom, lost their earthly lives while serving in the United States armed forces, we should thank them and their loved ones. In this spirit, the active and retired military service, public safety, and first responder professionals in our community are incredible examples of generosity and courage. You save and change lives, often many times in the same day.   

Would all active and retired members of our United States military services – plus our public safety and first responder professionals to please stand? 

Thank you all once again for your presence in the Scecina Story, and congratulations to the Class of 2023 and your loved ones.

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