|Valedictorian Jawhara Maria Karam|
photo courtesy of Raymond Lahoud
Several alumni from the Class of 1966 were on hand to congratulate the new graduates. These included U.S. Army Colonel Robert Reddy, who went from high school into the armed forces and has been there for the past 50 years.
Principal Mario Lucrezi thanked parents for the sacrifices they have made to send their children to Catholic school, which includes an annual $7,000 tuition. "Without your commitment to Catholic education, we would not be here," he said. He advised graduates to work before they play, share what they have, love and respect their family and keep God in their plan.
Saluatorian Kathleen Capella mentioned that the high school gym in which they were all crammed serves many other purposes - It's an auditorium, a basketball court for some of the area's most exciting games, a place where mass is celebrated, a theatre and has even served as a 24-hour dance floor. "We do a lot with what little we have," she said, though she admitted "we all can use a little Divine intervention at times." She said she's learned to keep fighting like the Notre Dame Crusader who is knocked off her horse. "We fight for faith."
Valedictorian Jawhara Maria Karam ticked off the accomplishments of the Class of 2016. They include girls' soccer district finalist, football district champion, National Merit finalist, Freddie Winner and that class that raised $80,000 for children's hospital. But she noted the hardships along the way. Not everyone makes Varsity. Not all students get an A. "We need to be patient and trust that God is with us, every step of the way." She said that what she learned at Notre Dame is that we must "follow our own path, even though it may not be the most popular path."
Bishop John O Barres attended the commencement, and assisted Principal Lucrezi in awarding diplomas.
Though there are only 143 graduates, 172 colleges and universities have accepted members of the Class of 2016.
Notre Dame High School is a private, co-ed Roman Catholic high school near Easton, Pennsylvania, in Bethlehem Township. With an enrollment of about 570 students, taught by a 40-person faculty, the school includes 9th through 12 grades.