Dr. Bosco, welcomed the Seraph community, recognizing the Class of 2019 by sharing a quote by Albus Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”: Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
“Four years ago, the darkest times were upon Mater Dei,” said Dr. Bosco. “We were closed. Yet you and your parents did not fear the dark. You did not shrink from the dark. You faced it. You remained at Mater Dei Prep and you turned on the light and you thrived. You showed everyone that great things can happen when we just turn on the light.”
Valedictorian Morgan Hurst and salutatorian Robert Cassin were honored at the ceremony and also addressed those gathered.
Morgan praised the class for its many accolades, including a state football championship, an Outstanding Musical Production Basie Award, back-to-back Shore Conference boys’ basketball titles, three consecutive state championships in boy’s track, and numerous artistic and academic awards and honors.
“Over the last four years, Mater Dei Prep has made a loud and bold statement: Seraphs are a powerhouse, and we are here to stay,” Morgan said. “We took the risk on Mater Dei Prep because we knew it would be worth it,” she said. “We knew it would become the place that meant more to us than anything; where we would find new friends and make new memories.”
Robert recognized how prepared the Class of 2019 is for the next step in life. Recalling the final months of senior year and the impending graduation, Robert explained, “Our lives here at Mater Dei were coming to an end, but we knew that we were ready. The name of the school is Mater Dei Prep, and this is what we’ve been preparing for over the last four years.”
Special guest Reverend Brian Woodrow (MD ’98) gave the commencement address. Fr. Woodrow was born and raised in Union Beach, and ordained in 2006. He currently serves as the pastor of Saint Dominic’s Church in Brick and as chaplain to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Belmar Fishing Club and the Monmouth County Police Academy.
In Fr. Woodrow’s address he highlighted the significant role Mater Dei played in his life academically and spiritually. Fr. Woodrow noted Reverend Jeffery J. Kegley, Pastor of Saint Mary’s Parish, Middletown, New Jersey was then a Chaplin at Mater Dei. He recognized the important role Fr. Kegley had on his journey and that now life has come full circle; as they are now both Pastors at their respective parishes. Rev. Woodrow motivated the Class of 2019 with a final message, “To go forth and set the world on fire.”
Graduating Seraph Players and the Mater Dei Prep choir, under the direction of Cindy Dwyer, entertained the audience, performing the national anthem, hymns and other musical selections. In addition to the powerful speeches and moving performances, the Mater Dei Prep graduates received academic awards and scholarships. Collectively the group received over $4.7 million in merit-based scholarships, which averages $97,916 in scholarships per student.
Medals of Academic Excellence were presented to this year’s graduates who achieved the highest academic average over four years. Bridget Alexandra Corman, Ishan Sharma, Jacob L. Callas, Xuanting (Tyler) Ren, Robert Cassin III, Jeremy Weinstein, Izaiah Lamarr Henderson, Xingquan (Jason) Xi, Morgan Ryan Hurst and Haoxuan (Shane) Xiao received the prestigious honor.
Patrick Edward Osborn, Ashley Christina Leach and Caleigh Stephanie Kehoe were recognized for service to Mater Dei Prep and Morgan Hurst and Izaiah Lamarr Henderson were recognized as outstanding student leaders. Robert Cassin III received the Religion Award; Ariana Eles Atkinson received the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Kiefer-Stevens scholarship; Kylie M. Hynes and Ashley Christina Leach received the Middletown Township Post No. 2179 Veterans of Foreign Wars scholarship; James R. Cody, Chase Richard Hardy and Perry Robert Merse Jr. received the Ellen Cunningham Scholarship; Morgan Ryan Hurst received the Future Female Leaders in STEM scholarship; and Bridget Alexandra Corman received the Alfred O’Connor Memorial scholarship and the John A. Anderson scholarship.
To view a photos from graduation click here