May 31, 2017
On a rather chilly Saturday morning, in the Philip Paolella Jr. Recreation Center, the Class of 2017 graduated from Sacred Heart Academy! One hundred seventeen members of the class made that special trip across the stage into the ranks of Sacred Heart alumnae. Diplomas were presented by Dean of Academic Affairs Sibani Sengupta, Ph.D., and conferred by President Sr. Sheila O’Neill, ASCJ, Ph.D.,’71 and Principal Sr. Kathleen Mary Coonan, ASCJ, ’76.
Commencement speaker Mary Gniadek, J.D., our 2004 valedictorian, did away with conventional graduation advice, sharing that she would prefer the graduates not follow their dreams, but rather explore their interests, and not forge their own path, but rather seek advice from those that support them. Mary said she couldn’t define success for the graduates, but she had an idea of what it is not…“Success probably isn’t being rich and it probably isn’t being Instagram famous,” she offered.
Mary earned a B.A. with distinction in all subjects, in molecular and cell biology, from Cornell University and a J.D., cum laude, from Michigan Law School. Following law school, she received a Bates Fellowship to work in Vienna, Austria as a legal consultant in the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. For two years, she served as a law clerk for two judges in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the District of Columbia Superior Court.
The Valedictory Address, delivered by Elizabeth Lamont, shared her love of Peter Pan with her classmates, calling it a story of faith, imagination, love, and growing up. “I feel like an adult and like a 5-year-old at the same time,” she said. Sacred Heart, she shared, has prepared us with the skills to find creative solutions to life’s problems. Elizabeth is headed to Vassar College; she is considering a major in art, art history, or history.
Salutatorian Alysse Mastriano said graduating from high school is a point of pride. Alysse said she motivated herself through the difficult times by pushing through one week at a time, until she happened upon a realization… she was wishing her life away. By willing herself into the future, she was missing what was in front of her. The next step for Alysse is the nursing program at Boston College where she earned a BC scholarship. Click here for Alysse’s Salutatory Address.
We also share with you the Graduates’ Prayer, given by Catherine Valloso, number three in the class. Catherine will attend Fairfield University majoring in international relations and minoring in business law, regulation, and ethics.
As has been done by many classes before at the conclusion of the ceremony, our newest grads gathered in front of the porte cochere to toss their caps into the air and say goodbye to Sacred Heart. There were lots of hugs, smiles, and tears of joy as classmates then said goodbye to each other and to the Sacred Heart teachers they leave behind.
Congratulations to newest members of the Sacred Heart alumnae family! You have left your mark and we expect great things! Please visit often.
Enjoy the New Haven Register coverage from our 2017 Commencement Exercises.