Graduation 2015–Student Welcome Address

(Delivered on Wednesday evening, 3 June 2015, at the Providence Performing Arts Center)

Your Excellency, Bishop Evans; Brother Thomas; Mr. Kavanagh; Representatives of the Diocese and the Brothers of the Christian Schools; Members of the Board; Faculty; Alumni; Parents; Guests; and fellow members of the graduating Class of 2015.

On behalf of the La Salle Academy Class of 2015, welcome to our graduation ceremony.

St. John Baptist De La Salle, our founder and visionary, urged his followers to “walk along God’s path.” I ask you to imagine a familiar path for all of us: a walk down the mural-covered hallways of La Salle Academy. The murals come alive with bright flashes of color, warm undertones, and strong, steady lines. In a sense, we, the Class of 2015, have created our own mural on La Salle Academy’s walls. Tonight, the paint is just beginning to dry.

In our mural, the first layer of paint was added by our families and, especially, our parents. It was our parents who have first supported us in every endeavor, and it was our parents who first chose to immerse us in the Lasallian legacy of excellence and tradition. Together, our parents and La Salle Academy have sketched out the way for us to become young men and women, aware of the world beyond and grounded in an unshakeable moral code.

In our mural, flashes of knowledge, inspiration, and wisdom stand out against a four-year-long backdrop. Painted by La Salle’s administration and faculty, they represent the academic triumphs, successes, and moments of clarity that illuminated our class periods and our halls. They are drawn with our understanding of what it means to be truly known as a student and as a person- to have an entire community of teachers and administrators fully invested in each and every one of us. Each flash started as a small spark of connection between an educator and a student, the color brightening with every conversation, every math problem, every essay, and every gesture of dedication. We, the Class of 2015, are forever grateful for these relationships and the insight we gained through them.

In our mural, the warm undertones of community immediately catch the eye. The La Salle Academy Class of 2015 is one characterized by an incredible atmosphere of respect, encouragement, and harmony. Perfectly blended with one another, and yet still defined by the diversity of our gifts, talents, and stories, the Class of 2015 celebrates tonight the collective memories and shared moments of our high school career. We are thankful for the opportunity to grow together in spirituality and in genuine friendship.

In our mural, our Catholic identity and formation create the strong, steady strokes outlining every image. They are painted with the colors of faith, service, and community and are unified with the presence of God in every aspect of the Lasallian experience. They are made distinct by the tremendous work of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and are textured by a focus on justice for all and the loving model of Jesus Christ. Our mural is framed by the Lasallian mission: to live not for ourselves but for the betterment of our society, for the good of our community, and for the person standing next to us.

Tonight, the La Salle Academy Class of 2015 stands before you, ready, able, and willing, to live out our faith and our futures. From the halls of La Salle Academy, we will walk confidently along God’s path, with Jesus forever in our hearts.

Julianna R. Marandola–Class of 2015

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