Immaculate Heart of Mary School saw the graduation of two of its finest students. During the graduation ceremony, each graduate gives a short speech which are reprinted here. The students from IHM School are taught by religious and lay-teachers to form a well-rounded education so that they will not only be prepared as great scholastics but as great saints!
These years of high school have been a challenge, but I was able to persevere, and now here I am graduating from Immaculate Heart of Mary School. I would like to thank all of my teachers who spent hours teaching me to help me become a better person and to help increase my knowledge in life.
First of all, I would like to thank my parents for bring me up properly […] in the Catholic Faith and always being there for me—to help me with my homework, to provide food, clothing, and a house to live in, as well as all the love and care they have given me all my life.
I would like to thank Father Charles DeMascola for giving our family financial aid to pay for my education as well as being our priest and pastor.
I would like to thank Father Smith for coming out all the way from Wisconsin to be our guest speaker for our graduation.
I would like to thank my teachers here at IHM: Miss Elizabeth Nadler, Mrs. Cohen, (especially for teaching me French), Sister Mary Perpetua, (who was very patient with me and taught me to be more mature and responsible), I would like to thank Sister Marie Philomena and Sister Mary Peter for all of their hard work in teaching me my high school curriculum, and all the hard work they put into their teaching each and every day.
I would like to thank Mrs. Bryan for lending me a guitar and teaching me how to play it.
I would like to thank Brother Andre Marie and Brother Louis Marie for teaching me how to grow up and act and think as a real man should as well as helping me in my faith through their prayers and good examples.
I would like to thank Father Phillipson for putting a lot of effort into helping me with my spiritual advice. Father helped me grow in my faith against numerous odds. He has helped my family with our needs, both spiritual and material, and has done a tremendously good job at being a good priest who cares about his spiritual children. He is a very kind, understanding, fatherly priest, and I pray that he continues to do well and serve our community with all his heart and strength.
I would like to thank Professor Brad Grinstead for all of his work that he put into his students, especially me. Professor has been helping me in my math and science, as well helping me by being my advisor in all things.
Most of all, this school has helped me to grow in knowledge, to help me keep the faith and to love God. It has helped me to change who I was into someone better and has helped me to be able to take my everyday pain and to become stronger. It has helped me to become responsible and taught me how to mature. I know after I graduate from here, my life will become much harder. But will I give up when it does? No! With the lessons I have learned from here I will go on trying even harder to improve myself and to do well in my college education, as well as in my spiritual life and relationship with Christ.
My immediate future plans include attending the College of Saint Mary Magdalen for two years in order to receive my Associates degree in Liberal Arts. I have currently already been accepted into the college and I hope to do well there. [Aiming for] my Associates degree, will not only teach me how to think critically, but it will also help me as I continue my education by giving me a well-balanced education and, therefore, will give me a better chance in being accepted into the college where I will spend 4-6 years in getting my Bachelor’s degree and, hopefully, with a little perseverance, my Master’s degree in Computer Science and Information. With this degree, I intend to find a well paying job so that, hopefully, I shall be able to buy a house and have a substantial enough income to follow my vocation in being a good Catholic father. I plan on raising my children in the Catholic Faith and taking care of my wife and kids in their needs. I have decided that this is what I am called to do and I plan on pursuing this vocation for the Glory and Honor of God. I pray that I may do my best everyday loving and serving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, as well as loving my wife and children through Christ as He loved me and died on a cross to save my soul.
I want to say thank you to anyone else who I have not mentioned for helping me and praying for me. I hope that you will continue to pray for me so that I may do well in my education, my spiritual life, and my career life. I have never felt more at home then in this Community, here at Saint Benedict Center, and this school, Immaculate Heart of Mary School.
Thank you all and God Bless!
Good morning, Father Philipson, Father Smith, Sister Marie Therese, Sister Mary Perpetua, Mom, Dad, faculty, family, friends, and all of you who will be here for this lengthy ceremony, trapped in formal decorum, and no doubt contemplating the quickest escape routes and nearest exits. I promise I will keep this brief.
When I sat down to write this speech, I sat there staring at the words “when I sat down to write this speech” for about twenty minutes before I actually wrote anything of substance. My mind was wandering and just thinking about my time at IHM, and I realized that I have spent the majority of my life attending this school. The idea of leaving this place, as much as it drove me crazy at times, is really scary. Since first grade, I have known exactly what my life would be like from September to June, and from this moment on—I won’t. My life won’t ever be the same, and even though I’m excited to get started on a new chapter, I really am going to miss this place. There were days here that felt like they would never end, but, when it’s all said and done, the past twelve years have really flown by. When you go through the years, while you are living them, every day feels like a mountain you have to climb. It feels like the hardest thing in the world to pry yourself out of bed every morning and go to school and not act like a zombie at the ungodly hour of 7:30 AM. (For an adolescent like me, “getting up early” is the act of being conscious before noon.)
My experience though, for the most part, has been a positive one, thanks to the people who made my life fun and exciting. My parents have supported me no matter what and helped me with so many things. They worked hard to give me the education that you can only get here, where children are taught well, trained to know the right and to do it to the best of their abilities. I will always be grateful that they forced me to get a good education. You really did know best, I guess.
My teachers have also been invaluable. I have been taught by many of the sisters, by assistant teachers, Br. Andre, and Professor Grinstead and I really couldn’t have done it without their help. Professor and Sister Mary Peter have had to put up with me the longest. They worked patiently with me for years, and they have tried to help me get over my lazy habits. They offered their time and attention in ways that I can never thank them enough for. All of the teachers here go not just the extra mile, but the extra ten to get us students to be successful, and we can never really repay them.
I also want to mention all the classmates I have had over the years. Thank you for helping to make the days feel shorter by just making the classroom a fun place to be. I can’t forget to thank my friends as well; they saved me from hours of unwanted studying time so that my cramming could be as hectic as possible. (Sometimes, the only way to focus is to just be distracted for a while.)
I’ve been dreading this moment for nearly the full dozen years I have attended this school. I have thought about standing on this stage and giving this speech, and I would break out in a cold sweat as I pondered the ordeal, but as I wrote the words I needed to say to those people who really deserve the credit for any success I have had, I felt strangely calm. It felt like I was doing something right—something that had to be done to pay them back for everything they have done for me. This is the last time I can call myself a student of IHM and I feel like the only way to leave this place is to give credit where credit is due. Thank you to everyone who supported me and to everyone who helped me to get right here. I will have to work even harder for the next few years as I continue my education at Mount Wachusett Community College, studying to be an Assistant Physical Therapist and I know I can be successful with your continued support and prayers. Thank you.
It is Fathers’ Day, of course I am thinking of my own dear father. He is a living image to me of God the Father, as was Brother Francis:… their kindness, interest, protection, guidance & wisdom are all fatherly qualities that make me feel happy to be their daughter.
Now, receiving the Cross from Brother Francis, Brother Andre Marie continues to shoulder the ultimate earthly responsibility for Our Lady’s School. Yes, he is a living image of Saint Joseph providing for, guiding and protecting all of the teachers and families in Our Lady’s school. Besides this, he is truly the father of the religious.
Lately, Brother has been directing the religious in singing sacred polyphony and we have all enjoyed the beauty. I have often thought that it is a great advantage for a superior to have experience as a director of music, since the goals and responsibilities of directors and superiors are so much the same: uniting a group of people with their various talents, temperaments and duties, in such a way that, in the end, a beautiful sound is produced, as if from a single voice or instrument. Now, as the music director of the Sisters, I would like to mention that there is really only one problem with Brother’s directing. This I hope to correct today.
The problem is, that instead of a baton, Brother has been using a pen to direct us. To remedy this impropriety, I would like to present a real conductor’s baton to Brother. This baton is engraved with Brother’s name. It was hard to find a case for it! Finally, we found this handsome orchestral music folder, which has a perfect little spot to hold the baton. I am sure the polyphonic music will fit nicely in the folder! Thank you, Brother, for uniting us all and helping us to produce “a beautiful sound”. Happy Father’s Day, Brother Andre!
Now, Our Blessed Mother has given us another “father” in her school. Brad Grinstead is one of our instructors and the father of one of our dear families. Professor Brad Grinstead has taught and mentored at IHM for close to 10 years. He will be taking on more of a father role in Our Lady’s school this upcoming year. Yes, he will now bear the dual title and responsibilities of Principal of the Upper School and Headmaster of IHM school. As such he will be a father figure within Our Lady’s School guiding, protecting and providing for all of the teachers and students of Our Lady’s School, like another St. Joseph.
You may not know it, but Professor shares with Brother Francis a love of chalkboards. However, the problems with chalkboards are many. For one thing, without a piece of chalk, a chalkboard is useless. For another, chalk is a very messy item to be holding. As a remedy to both of these problems, I have here a hand-turned wood chalk-holder. It is engraved with our new headmaster’s name. Thank you, Professor, for being willing to be a father to us in the school! Happy Father’s Day!
And now for the lower school. As you may know, Sister Mary Peter has mothered many of the students from Kindergarten through graduation, teaching all of the grades over the years. She has prepared more than 50 children for their First Holy Communion and Confession. She has bandaged many a scrape and has helped the Tooth Fairy acquire dozens of loose teeth over the past 15 or more years.
Sister Mary Peter will now be taking on the title and responsibilities of Principal of the Lower School. The work of caring for and directing these little souls will require much good counsel, especially since some of the children under her care will not have even reached the age of reason. To help supply for this need for good counsel, I am giving to Sister an image of Our Lady of Good Counsel. It is hidden within a key chain that has her name engraved on it. Sister Mary Peter gave this image to me back in 2001 when I was appointed the Sub-Prioress. Now that the date has worn off of it, I am giving it back to Sister with a new date inscribed: the date of her becoming the Principal of the Lower School. Thank you for taking on this responsibility in such a motherly fashion, Sister Mary Peter!
To make all of these rolls work together smoothly, we now have a School Administrator – Sister Maria Perpetua — Her exalted title barely hints at the full weight of her secretarial duties, which she gracefully accomplishes When you see a radiant smile on her face, you can be sure that she is multitasking. You must have noticed the bag that Sister carries her books in. It looks just like this one. This special white, plastic bag with the heart on it is called a “library bag”. (Yes, you get these at the library.) Besides the fact that the bag is prone to ripping and is not quite big enough for Sister’s needs, it simply is not a very official looking bag for a School Administrator. To replace this library bag, I have here a sturdy canvas bag with IHM embroidered on it. I hope it helps to lighten your burdens, Sister. Thank you, Sister, for joyfully taking on this responsibility.
Now, perhaps you are thinking that, having been relieved of so much responsibility, I will be relaxing. Well, to a degree that is true, but really I will now be able to do better what I have been trying to do for many years: that is, be a mother to the Sisters, students and mothers of the school and Community at large. I will no longer be in the difficult position of being both the mother and ultimate authority simultaneously. This really makes me rejoice. I will be more free to fill the need for an active and interested Mother figure now, and I am very grateful.
IHM School is the part of Our Lady’s Crusade that is meant to be a consolation to Her Immaculate Heart – May we all fulfill the special role that God has given us, so that we can help console Our Blessed Mother through Her little school.