ELIZABETH—“I am proud to introduce Benedictine Academy’s 93rd class of graduates…” declared Associate Principal Kenneth Jennings, as the forty-one young women turned to face guests at Saint Catherine of Siena Church in Hillside at the Academy’s commencement ceremony on Thursday evening, June 5.
Proud family members, friends, faculty, administrators and others filled the pews, applauding the beaming Class of 2008 as they flipped their graduation cap tassels from left to right. Earlier in the evening, the graduates were presented by Dean of Students Andrea Banks-Suggs to Academy President/Principal Sister Germaine Fritz, OSB ’54, who conferred their diplomas. Jennings announced academic awards and also acknowledged the Classes of 1983 and 1958 on the celebration of their silver (25th) and golden (50th) anniversaries of graduation from the academy.
This year’s graduating class earned over $1.68 million in academic scholarships and received acceptances from 50 colleges and universities, as noted by Melissa Grau, director of guidance at BA, who read out the individual accomplishments of each graduate.
Jennifer Ramos, a Newark resident who will attend the New Jersey Institute of Technology, was Valedictorian of the Benedictine Academy Class of 2008 and delivered the farewell address. Salutatorian Crystal Orr of Elizabeth, who will attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall, welcomed those gathered. Ramos and Orr were also named Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholars this year, along with classmate Raquel Firme of Newark, who will attend Rutgers University. All three are members of the National Honor Society.
Other BA graduates who achieved National Honor Society status are Pammela Andrade of Kearny; Nazish Asif of Newark; Gabriella Bacchus of Irvington; Jennifer de Andrade of Linden; Anayiah Hall of Newark; Christina Malloy of Hillside; Jessica Martinho of Newark; Yvonne Okereke of Union; Ashley Perez of Elizabeth; Amanda Rendeiro-Pires of Union; and Andrea Ribeiro and Nicole Tortorello, both of Newark.
Jessica Martinho was recognized as the recipient of the distinctive St. Scholastica Award, which is given to the student who most exemplifies the virtues of the Benedictine way of life. Sister Sharon McHugh, OSB ’67, Prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth, had presented the award to Martinho at the previous evening’s Baccalaureate Mass in St. Walburga Monastery. The commencement ceremony closed following the singing of the Alma Mater, led by Class of 2008 graduate Jasmine Durr of Roselle.
Graduates of Benedictine Academy earned numerous academic awards from their school this year. “Highest Achievement” Awards were conferred upon the following graduates: Pammela Andrade- Honors Pre-Calculus; Gabriella Bacchus- Health; Felicia Cooper- Pre-Calculus, and Math Applications; Jessica Martinho- Art: Photo Art, British Literature and Physical Education; Yvonne Okereke- AP English, AP French, Health, and Psychology; Crystal Orr- Global Economics; Ashley Perez- American History I; and Jennifer Ramos- Advanced Biology, AP Spanish, and Religion.
Benedictine Academy also conferred “Second Highest Achievement Awards” upon the following graduates: Pammela Andrade- AP French; Nazish Asif- Global Economics; Gabriella Bacchus- Advanced Biology, and AP English; Claudia Creoruska- Art: Photo Art; Jennifer de Andrade- AP Spanish; Raquel Firme- Religion; Anayiah Hall- Psychology, and Physical Education; Samantha Neary- British Literature, and Math Applications; Crystal Orr- Honors Pre-Calculus, Physical Education, and Religion; Isabelle Piroli- Pre-Calculus; Andrea Ribeiro- Art: Photo Art; and Nicole Tortorello- AP Spanish.
The complete list of Benedictine Academy 2008 graduates is: Jalissa Allen, Janella Anderson, Pammela Andrade, Nazish Asif, Zandrea Askew, Gabriella Bacchus, Jazmyn Brantley, Felicia Cooper, Claudia Creoruska, Monique Davis, Jennifer de Andrade, Shamirah Drummond-Riley, Jasmine Durr, Raquel Firme, Anayiah Hall, Imani Harper, Christine Jean-Baptiste, Troi Johnson, Dominique Laurel, Christina Malloy, Sonia Manasse, Jessica Martinho, Keisha Modeste, Samantha Neary, Yvonne Okereke, Crystal Orr, Janae Payne-Hawley, Ashley Perez, Isabelle Piroli, Jennifer Ramos, Mildrena Rasberry, Amanda Rendeiro-Pires, Andrea Ribeiro, Zenobia Robinson, Stephanie Santos, Kejandra Sharpe-Butler, Ulrielle Souffrant, Deanna Starks, Ravyn Thomas, Nicole Tortorello and Tamara Williams.
Jennifer Ramos, a Newark resident who will attend the New Jersey Institute of Technology, was Valedictorian of the Benedictine Academy Class of 2008 and delivered the farewell address. Salutatorian Crystal Orr of Elizabeth, who will attend the University of Pittsburgh this fall, welcomed those gathered.