Mountie graduates celebrate community, and keep on moving

Mountie graduates celebrate community, and keep on moving

Shannon O’Connor, left, of Cumberland, and Skylar O’Connell, of Franklin, Mass., exchange high-fives after earning their high school diplomas during Mount St. Charles Academy’s 2017 graduation ceremonies in Adelard Arena on Sunday. (Breeze photo by Charles Lawrence)

WOONSOCKET – Mount Saint Charles Academy held its 93rd commencement on June 11 and top graduates from the Class of 2017 celebrated the lessons learned during their time at the private, Catholic high school while exchanging inspiring words of advice for the future.

“Mount has truly become a second home. It is a place where we are allowed to explore new interests, gifts, and talents and are nurtured and guided to reach our full potential,” said Mistress of Ceremonies Emily Mercier of Cumberland, the third top graduate in the 130-member class.

Salutatorian Meghan O’Brien of Franklin, Mass., reflected on memories from her first days of entering the school as a 7th-grader.

“On orientation day, I was too nervous to talk to anyone else so I started to eat lunch alone,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien said that two members of Campus Ministry sat down and talked with her.

“At the time, I was grateful that they had spared me some of the embarrassment of eating by myself.”

Through the anecdote, O’Brien noted how she and her classmates had changed during their time at Mount.

“We are not just older or smarter than we were when we first came here. We became more compassionate, more driven, more confident,” she said. “We grew more concerned about our roles in the world. We became the type of people who sit with terrified 7th-graders on their first days.”

“We have changed because the type of education we’ve received was never purely intellectual,” said O’Brien. “At our cores, we will continue to be Mounties: bound by friendship, united in faith, forever family.”

Mercier offered kind words for the school’s second-highest graduate.

“Every day I am impressed with her intelligence and composure. Whenever she speaks in class, she is clear, concise, and professional in a way that is impossible to emulate and is unique to her specifically,” she said of O’Brien. “If she feels the need to argue, she does so politely but firmly, not seeking to insult her opponent, but only to persuade and to make her voice heard.”

The Mount community also celebrated a landmark anniversary for the Class of 1967, handing 50th anniversary diplomas to alumnus who had returned to the school for a 50th anniversary weekend.

Mercier spoke on what it might have been like to graduate that year, noting “some striking similarities” with modern times.

“In 1967, the world was faced with great uncertainty and conflict, both overseas and at home,” she said. “Young people, however, were striving to make a difference in that world, heading new political and cultural movements that have shaped the world as we know it today.”

School Principal Edwin Burke thanked the parents of Mount’s latest crop of graduates for choosing the Logee Street school.

“As a parent, I understand the leap of faith you have taken in sending your children here for their education,” said Burke.

Mercier said that Valedictorian Ngan Kim Le of Woonsocket “has a very laid-back, calm attitude, but she is extremely driven and works harder than anyone I know.”

“Kim is friends with everyone and is comfortable talking to anyone and expressing her emotions, especially if that emotion is excitement,” she said. “There is no question that Kim brightens up classrooms with her presence alone.”

Quoting pop stars from Britney Spears to Drake, Le gave a light-hearted and inspiring speech using a driving analogy.

“Whatever happens in the future, be active and take control,” said Le. “You might not know your destination, but you choose how fast you go, whether it be 40 miles per hour or 80 miles per hour.”

“You decide what drives your life. You decide where you want to go and which roads you want to take.”

“Sometimes life’s problems make you feel helpless. Sometimes you’ll feel like you can’t do anything,” Le said. “But there’s always a way if you’re willing to look.”

“I have no doubts that you’ll stay in motion. Whether inch by inch or mile by mile, there’s no destination that you can’t reach.”

Le thanked the teachers and staff at Mount for being dedicated.

“You’ve made our school not just a place for learning, but also a community,” she said.

At Sunday’s Mount Saint Charles Academy Class of 2017 commencement ceremony, the school’s top two honors for seniors were awarded: the Excelsior Award and All Mountie Award. The Excelsior Award is presented in recognition of good leadership and participation in extracurricular activities, and this year’s recipient was Valedictorian Kim Le of Woonsocket. Earning the All Mountie Award was Cumberland’s Emily D’Abrosca. From left, are Mount President Herve Richer, Le, D’Abrosca, and Mount Principal Edwin Burke.
James Belisle, of Cumberland, receives his diploma. Mount St. Charles Academy’s 2017 graduation took place in Adelard Arena on Sunday. (Breeze photo by Charles Lawrence)
Friends Gregory Lynch, left, and Collin Scott, both of Cumberland, celebrate their graduation from Mount St. Charles Academy on Sunday. (Breeze photo by Charles Lawrence)