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Examiner
  • The final farewell for St. Mary's graduates

  • The emotions among the St. Mary’s High School graduating class could only be described as bittersweet.



    The small class of 27 were excited about graduation and moving on to the next phase of their lives. But graduation not only marked the end of the class of 2013’s high school career. It also marks the end of a 159-year-old tradition.

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  • The emotions among the St. Mary’s High School graduating class could only be described as bittersweet.
    The small class of 27 were excited about graduation and moving on to the next phase of their lives. But graduation not only marked the end of the class of 2013’s high school career. It also marks the end of a 159-year-old tradition.
    “I am sad because none of us will be able to come back. There won’t be anything left to come back to,” said St. Mary’s graduate Shara Harter. “I just think all of us are sad. We are like a family. I mean, I consider everyone like they are my brother or sister.”
    The class of 2013 will be the last to graduate from St. Mary’s High School. The Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese decided in January to close the school at the end of the year. Graduates participated in commencement exercise Sunday at St. Mark’s Catholic Church in Independence.
    “St. Mary’s doors may not be open next year, but the effect that St. Mary’s has had and the spirit of St. Mary’ will continue to grow,” said Rev. Robert Stone during graduation ceremonies. “Make a difference in this world. That’s how the spirit of St. Mary’s will live on.”
    The valedictorian is Megan Dux and the salutatorian is Rachel Graef. Lt. Cmdr. Ellen Jantzen, U.S. Navy Reserves, gave the commencement address, and Lauren Martin was the recipient of the Sr. Mary DePaul Spirit Award. The class was awarded $313,670 in first-year scholarships and $570,000 in four-year scholarships.
    “Although the class of 2013 is the last graduating class of St. Mary’s High School, every other junior, sophomore and freshman will hold a special place in history,” said Rena Espinosa, in an article in the graduation program. “It was hard to press on, but they did, and these students will always know the fighting spirit that comes from heartache, loss and death.”
    Graduate Jacob Trotter is the third generation of his family to attend St. Mary’s, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and mother. He said he was sad when he learned the school would be closing, but also happy that he would be able to graduate from the high school he has been at the last four years.
    “I am going to miss the teachers. They are really good,” he said. “Everyone knows someone who went to St. Mary’s. It has such a long tradition in the community. It has meant a lot to my family too.”
     
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