Marie Mader is taking a slightly different path to college from many of her friends at St. Mary’s High School.

Marie Mader is taking a slightly different path to college from many of her friends at St. Mary’s High School.

“I am traveling to England and to France this summer before I begin classes at William Jewell College,” said the 2011 graduate. “I decided I wanted to see the world before I get back into classes and studying.”

Forty-one students graduated from St. Mary’s High School Sunday during commencement exercises at St. Mark’s Catholic Church. The class includes 17 members of the National Honor Society and 20 students who received a College Preparatory Certificate. The certificate is given to students who have completed a college preparatory program specified by the Missouri State Board of Education while maintaining at least a 3.0 grade point average.

The class also received more than $438,000 in first year scholarships. The co-valedictorians are Hannah Longstreet and Elizabeth Polina.

“It feels really nice to know that all my hard work has paid off,” said Polina, who plans to attend the University of Missouri this fall. “It was really important for me to become valedictorian, and I think I am a good example of what my class represents – hard work and success.”

Longstreet said although it was not her goal to became one of the top students in her class, she said she feels good about the accomplishment.

“I am really excited to move on from high school and do something else,” said Longstreet, who plans to attend Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. “I think I will miss how structured high school was. I could always expect what would happen next. It was easy, but I am ready for the next challenges I will face.”

Graduate Jack Salva plans to follow in the footsteps of his parents and grandfather and attend MU in the fall. Although he is still undecided about his major, he said he is ready for college.

“I will lose my friends now that we have graduated, but I am excited,” he said. “Study hard because it will pay off. Remember to study hard.”

Graduate Andrew Graver said he is relieved he made it through high school. Graver will be joining the U.S. Marines.

“The Marines has many good programs and opportunities, and if I want to go to college after, they will pay for it,” he said. “I will miss high school and my friends, but we made it through. High school is over.”