Rumson – Friday, June 5th marked the graduation of the eighth grade Holy Cross Academy Class of 2020. In most years, this would take place in a standing-room-only church full of family, friends and faculty. This year looked much different, but no less poignant for the parents and teachers of the graduates, and the graduates themselves, many of whom have shared the halls and classrooms of Holy Cross since preschool.
This year’s Baccalaureate Mass, celebrated by Holy Cross Pastor Fr. Michael Manning, was offered outdoors. Each graduate in his or her family car, the event was live-streamed for viewing by extended family and the school community. After Mass, Principal Dr. Mark DeMareo gave the address, and advised his students, “I challenge you to be responsible enough to fix the little things that seem to hinder you from being and doing your best, and be respectful enough to always say, ”Thank you” and, “I appreciate that” to all those who help you reach those milestones in life…Holy Cross School Class of 2020, you are all a success story waiting to be told, so write a good story.”
Then Student Council President Sophia Ramos concluded her address to her class as such, “Fellow classmates, you all have so much potential, and I am so excited to see what is in store for you in the future. I know you’ll all go on to do amazing things based on the character you have built and developed here at Holy Cross. I wish you all the best of luck. I will end my message with this quote from Joshua 1:9, ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ May each one of us move forward now and make a positive impact. Congratulations Class of 2020. We did it!”
The talented Class of 2020 will attend some of the area’s best high schools. Eleven young men will attend Christian Brothers Academy. Six young ladies will attend Trinity Hall, and two will attend Red Bank Catholic. Gavin Rudnick will attend Marine Academy of Science and Technology. Rumson Fair Haven and Henry Hudson High Schools are also future homes of this year’s Holy Cross graduates.
A treasured tradition at Holy Cross Academy is the letter of thanks each graduate writes to his or her mother for the life and the education she has sacrificed and prioritized to provide. This was one tradition that did not need to be altered for the pandemic. Below are a few excerpts from these letters, which show the gratitude students have for both their parents and their school, which has formed so much of their childhood experience.
“Thank you for investing so much into my education. Without it I would not be the student I am today and probably would not have gotten into Trinity Hall. By sending me to Holy Cross, I am also so much closer to God. Thank you for sending me to a school where they value our faith and find it so important…Thank you for teaching me to be the best version of myself, and that I can do whatever I put my mind to. You are always at my sports games, and you encourage me to want to do better. You are my role model, and you inspire me to challenge myself and work hard to reach my goals…”
- Sophia Ramos
“Thank you so much for allowing me to go to Holy Cross. I have learned so much from this school and I owe it all to you and Dad. I have learned so much at Holy Cross from tying my shoes to dissecting a frog. If it wasn’t for you and dad, I wouldn’t be the young man I grew up to be. Thank you for always being there to pick me up when I fall down. You gave me the courage to try new things and taught me what is right and what is wrong. Thank you for always supporting me! I truly owe all of my knowledge and success to you and Dad…”
- William Keegan
“Thank you for sending me to Holy Cross. Holy Cross has given me so many opportunities. Since I’ve attended Holy Cross, my faith has grown. My relationship with God has become stronger. I have more interest in attending Mass than I did before I came here. Holy Cross has made me a better student and has given me the tools I need for high school. Without Holy Cross, I wouldn’t have the confidence in my academic work that I do now. Holy Cross has made me want to always strive to do my best…I am super excited to start a new chapter in high school, but am sad about my time at Holy Cross ending. I can’t wait for all the new adventures I will take on…”
- Allison Urbanski
“Thank you so much for sending me to Holy Cross Academy. I have loved it here ever since I first came here in pre-school. My faith and personality has developed greatly throughout the years. If you hadn't sent me to Holy Cross Academy I would not be as prepared for high school as I am now….I am very excited to be attending high school in the fall, and I'm sure you are as well. I am also very excited to attend all the mother and son activities that they have at C.B.A. I know that you will play the same role as you did while I was at Holy Cross Academy. I am so thankful to have a mom like you.”
- Duncan Straine
The Holy Cross Academy Class of 2020 on the steps of Holy Cross Church, taken in September. Photo credit: Christine Enna Photography