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Grads relax with family, friends at Cathedral

The scene in the parish hall at St. Mary Basilica seemed more like a family reunion than a farewell, with soon-to-be-graduates of Cathedral School greeting each other with big hugs and questions of what their friends had been doing since they last saw them.

The theme of family summed up the years the class had spent together, graduate Caleb Johnson said.

“It seemed like our class was a bunch of bickering siblings, jumping on and biting somebody’s head off, but if somebody had something going on, we would all come together for that person,” he said.

His classmate Ethan Ozburn said the last 13 years have been a fun study in seeing how people relate to one another.

“It’s been a crazy trip,” he said. “You’ve seen people come and go, and all sorts of crazy relationships come together.”

But when the time came for the Cathedral graduates to make their way to the front of St. Mary Basilica in what would be their final act as a unified class, they did so with dignity and pride.

Salutatorian Adam Blackwell recalled how, at the age of 3, the first lesson he learned at Cathedral — and what he considered to be the most important — was how to pray the “Our Father.”

“While we did not understand the significance at the time, we now know we should always turn to God,” he said.

Later, teachers taught students how to expand their imagination, Blackwell said.

“It is through this imaginative and creative thinking that some of us will find success in this world,” he said.

“The lessons we learned at Cathedral will never die,” he said.

Valedictorian Davis Beard reminded the graduates of the tough times they had come through, from real times of trial to things that only seemed like trials at the time.

“We got through all of this and today we are standing here receiving our high school diplomas,” she said.

Beard thanked her father for both life and tennis lessons, her mother for being both willing to listen to her problems and proofread her work, her sister for being her best friend, and the faculty and staff at Cathedral for educating her.

“If it weren’t for these people, I wouldn’t be standing here before you today,” she said.

Beard admonished her classmates to celebrate what they have accomplished but to prepare to continue working hard.

“Let us take with us into life the memories we have made in high school, and finally, let us pray as if everything depends on God but work as if everything depends on us,” she said.

The Most Rev. Joseph Latino, bishop of Jackson, told the graduates that they have been privileged in many ways, one of those ways being educated at Cathedral.

“There is a principle that says that with every privilege we get there is an accompanying responsibility,” he said. “You now have the responsibility of living according to that education.”

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