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St. Maria Goretti graduates challenged to seize the day

June 02, 2002|by SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Refrains of "carpe diem" - seize the day - echoed throughout St. Maria Goretti's graduation Saturday afternoon at St. Ann Church.

Forty-nine seniors accepted their diplomas during the event.

"After this day we are officially leaving behind life as we have known it for the past 18 years" to embark on a new and unknown journey, said valedictorian Michele Winslow during her address.

She challenged her classmates to imagine that within the next 24 hours, six hours or 30 minutes their life would end. The challenge was an effort to make them focus on what really matters in life, she said.

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"Thinking this way is quite intense. If you could have this mindset all the time you would find it quite fulfilling. I challenge you to live like this. What you do is frozen in time for all eternity," Winslow said.

Her advice, to live each moment as if it were the last, gathered loud applause from the graduates, their families and friends.

Principal Christopher M. Siedor followed Winslow's remarks with a word of caution to the graduates asking them to make careful decisions and avoid the delusion that time passes slowly.

"Measure your path carefully to ensure the concert of your life remains in harmony with God," he said.

Even with the delivery of heavy messages and thought-provoking questions, the joy of friendship and the sadness of leaving those friends was present especially for a group of four young women who were graduating and going their separate ways to study pre-med and education.

They said they are going to do all they can to stay in touch.

Claire Martin said she, along with friends Sonia Alencherry, Rabiya Faridi and Angela Cangemi, are going to designate weekends to see each other.

Faridi and Alencherry are going to Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, Md., to study pre-med, Cangemi is going to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Pa., and Martin is going to the University of Pittsburgh to study elementary education.

They said their fondest memories of high school and their friendship were the water fights and pranks they would play on each other on birthdays.

"We are like sisters. We love each other," Faridi said.

Salutatorian Patrick Yungwirth received the Pro Deo et Patria Award, the honor given to a senior for exemplifying the qualities of the school through strength of purpose and resolute moral fiber, Siedor said.

Yungwirth is attending the University of Maryland at College Park to study aerospace engineering.

"Farewell my dear classmates and carpe diem," Winslow said.

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