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Goretti graduates 56

Robertson earns top honor

May 28, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN- Valedictorian Paul Winslow urged St. Maria Goretti High School's class of 2006 to live their lives as Jesus would.

"How can you find a better role model than the Lord, who is the way, the truth and the life?" said Winslow.

Winslow also encouraged his classmates to never stop learning and to work hard to meet their goals.

"Your life is moving on, ready or not," he said.

Fifty-six St. Maria Goretti seniors graduated Saturday in a Baccalaureate Mass at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Hagerstown.

Principal Christopher M. Siedor awarded the Pro Deo et Patria (For God and Country) Award, which he described as the school's most prestigious honor, to graduating senior Thomas Edward Robertson.

Robertson received a medal of St. Maria Goretti, the Catholic Church's youngest saint.

In his homily, the Rev. John Dietzenbach, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Libertytown, Md., told the class to live life unselfishly in Jesus Christ.

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"Take your faith and your ability to love one another - a love that's rooted in Jesus Christ," Dietzenbach said.

Ronald J. Valenti, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, applauded the volunteer work completed by the class.

The class' service projects included raising money for hurricane victims and St. Jude's Children's Hospital, participating in March for Life in Washington, D.C., donating food to local shelters and working as aides at Marshall Street School, a school for special-needs students.

Valenti described the amount of volunteer work as "phenomenal."

"You are a spiritual people," he said. "Never lose sight of that. God is essential to your lives. Always make room for God's presence."

After Mass, graduates tossed their caps in the air, and some celebrated by smoking a cigar outside the church.

Graduate Richie Holzapfel said he planned to stay in Hagerstown this summer and work, then head to Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, where he likely will study economics.

"I have mixed feelings," Holzapfel said. "I was definitely looking forward to (graduating), but I'm going to miss everyone here and miss the school."

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