Bishop O'Connell High School held its 58th commencement exercises at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, May 31. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, presented diplomas to the 233 members of the class of 2018.
Jennifer Bigelow, Ed.D., Superintendent of Catholic Schools, addressed the graduates, sharing her own lessons from her high school to college transition, which didn't go as smoothly as most might have imagined. Reflecting on her missteps, she encouraged the class of 2018 to stay close to their faith during this time of many changes. She left them with a light-hearted quote from none other than Snoopy: "Be outrageously happy."
Caitlin Mea, the class salutatorian, looked back on the last four years, remembering many of the high points—from high achievements in the classroom to a record-setting Superdance and far beyond. Her reflections centered around a memorable quote from the spring musical, Mary Poppins: "Anything can happen if you let it. Life is out there waiting, so go and get it." She applauded her classmates for their willingness to do more every day, and encouraged them to continue their next chapter of life with the same gusto.
Matthew Ehlers, the class valedictorian, used a quote from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar to frame his remarks: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on the fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries..." He shared his personal journey through high school, where he embraced the tide and tried new ventures. Though it sometimes came with uncertainty, it nonetheless brought him to experiences he would have forever missed. "I encourage all of us soon-to-be graduates to open ourselves to our new and exciting futures and remember Shakespeare's lesson of seizing opportunities when presented with them."
God Bless the Class of 2018!
View photo highlights from graduation day below or at THIS LINK.