Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat — At left, Cathedral graduates Sarah Grace Jordan and Nolan Vaughan hold hands before entering St. Mary Basilica for the school’s 164 th graduation ceremony Friday night. At center, graduate celebrate with the annual cap toss in front of the church. At right, Madeline Beard waves her diploma in celebration of her graduation.

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Wave of the future: Cathedral grads ready for next step

Published 12:00am Saturday, May 26, 2012

NATCHEZ — A wave of celebration filled St. Mary Basilica Friday night as the graduates of Cathedral High School moved their tassels and stepped into the next chapter of their lives.

Valedictorian Kandice Canise Bailey said her fellow classmates reminded her of young eagles, who have worked to accomplish one goal — flying.

“Tonight we stand at the edge of a cliff, our hearts filled with excitement, anticipation and fear,” Bailey said.

But Bailey asked her classmates not to worry with the outcome of the graduates’ first leap from Cathedral’s cliff.

“As you leap from this cliff, I want you to feel the wind caressing your skin; I want you to feel the sun’s rays shining upon you,” she said. “I want you to think of life as an experience meant to be enjoyed instead of a task meant to be accomplished.”

For more photos from the Cathedral graduation click here.

Salutatorian Madeline Blair Beard said as she and her classmates venture in their own directions to success, they will ask themselves, “What is success?”

“As kindergartners, we succeeded when we went an entire day with no bathroom accidents and could write our names,” Beard said to laughter from the crowd.

Beard reminisced the measures of success through her years spent at Cathedral right up to graduating with her senior class.

“Our next successes, who knows what they may be, but I think one for all of us would be to keep this class in our hearts, remembering the good and the bad throughout our lives,” she said.

Sister Deborah Hughes, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, reminded the students that as they journey into their futures, their values that have been instilled in them at Cathedral and their relationship with God will be tested.

“I challenge you as you move to all corners of the Earth, that you believe in the greatness of God that has brought you all here together at Cathedral,” Hughes said.

The Most Rev. Joseph Latino told the graduates the key to success in life is to “choose the good and reject the evil.”

Latino told the graduates that their diploma was the ticket to their future.

“It’s not the end,” he said. “It’s the ticket for you to move on, for you to say, ‘I am ready for what the world has to offer.’”