Cathedral celebrates 159th graduation with class of 48 students

Published 10:20 am Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cathedral High School valedictorian Mimi Nguyen evoked her Vietnamese background to exhort fellow CHS graduates to live life to the fullest in the future.

Nguyen, who led her class of 48 students with the highest average in each of the four years of high school, used a Vietnamese metaphor of a mother teaching her young three important virtues of humbleness, patience and high expectations, which together teach the young to live life to the fullest.

Friends and family filled the pews at St. Mary Basilica, with many standing in the back of the church for the hour-long ceremony that overflowed with encouraging words, both spoken and sung.

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Nguyen, who will attend Millsaps College in the fall, said the Class of 2007 has a responsibility to pass on humbleness to future generations. “We have to learn to work within our society humbly with respect for others.”

Further, she said patience will help graduates to reach their goals and find their way in the future.

The lessons learned by the Vietnamese people when they came to America are examples of the virtue of high expectations, Nguyen said.

“In America we set high expectations for ourselves and future generations,” she said.

“And now it is our turn, with all of these virtues as guides, to live life to the fullest,” she said to her classmates.

“We have inherited a wealth of experience and knowledge … Let’s believe and succeed.”

Salutatorian Caitlin Johnson urged fellow graduates to remember their roots and their times together at Cathedral.

“This is a time to learn who we are and who we are not,” she said. “Thanks to all those who inspired us to be dreamers.”

The Most Rev. Joseph Latino, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, asked students whether they realized the tubes they were handed were empty.

“I think that blankness is saying something to you. In a sense the blank may be saying that for the rest of your life you will be writing in it,” he said.

“Fill it up with new successes. You belong to a very unique and very proud alumni,” he said.

He reminded graduates that theirs was the 159th Cathedral graduation and that they joined the alumni from all the years before them.

“You join that crowd, a select and unique crowd of graduates,” Latino said.

Sister Deborah Hughes, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, said graduation is a beginning, not an end.

She urged graduates to take their talents into the world and use them.

“You have many gifts to share, and our world desperately needs those gifts,” she said.