ELIZABETH–“I am proud to introduce Benedictine Academy’s (BA) 95th class of graduates…” declared Principal Kenneth Jennings, as the forty-six young women turned to face guests at Holy Spirit Church in Union at the Academy’s commencement ceremony on Thursday evening, June 3.
Proud family members, friends, faculty, administrators and others filled the pews, applauding the beaming Class of 2010 as they flipped their graduation cap tassels from left to right. Earlier in the evening, the graduates were presented by Assistant Principal Andrea Banks-Suggs to Academy President Sister Germaine Fritz, OSB ’54, who conferred their diplomas. Jennings announced academic awards and also acknowledged the Classes of 1985 and 1960 on the celebration of their silver (25th) and golden (50th) anniversaries of graduation from the Academy.
This year’s graduating class earned over $2.63 million in academic scholarships, as noted by Benedictine Academy Director of Guidance Melissa Grau, who read out the individual accomplishments of each graduate.
Valedictorian Barbara Diogo of Newark, who will attend Drew University in Madison next fall, delivered the farewell address. Salutatorian Gabrielle Teixeira of Newark, who is bound for Montclair State University, welcomed those gathered.
Diogo was named an “Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar” this year, along with classmates Priscille Dossekou of Newark and Thanita Kennedy of Hillside. Diogo, Dossekou, Kennedy and Teixeira are all members of the National Honor Society. Dossekou, who will attend Boston College, 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, presented the award to Dossekou at the previous evening’s Baccalaureate Mass in St. Walburga Monastery.
Other BA Class of 2010 graduates who achieved National Honor Society status are Diane Araujo of Newark; Natasha Ballah and Amanda Boykins, both of Irvington; Cindy Carpintero of Newark; Vanessa Devia of Elizabeth; Anika Dodson of Hillside; Stephanie Gaspar of Elizabeth; Amiosinor Igetei and Danah Lewis, both of Hillside; Delecia McPherson of Irvington; and Stephanie Sergent-Rojas of Elizabeth.
The keynote speaker was BA Class of 1995 alumna Fatima Oliveira Tsouris. Tsouris currently is employed by Columbia University in NYC as Associate Director for the “PMTCT- Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV” Program, at the “International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs”, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She earned a Masters of Science Degree in Human Nutrition from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from New York University.
Rev. Boniface J. Treanor, OSB, a member of Benedictine Academy’s Advisory Board of Trustees, gave the Invocation. Academy President Sister Germaine Fritz, along with Hernan Stigliano, Chairperson of the Academy’s Advisory Board of Trustees, delivered moving messages and offered wise words to the graduates to carry with them as they continue their journey. Poetry was read by 2010 graduates Delecia McPherson and Stephanie Sergent-Rojas. Ericka Davis, Class of 2007, offered an inspirational song. The commencement ceremony closed following the singing of the Alma Mater, led by Class of 2010 graduates Jenice Caldwell, Adjani Gary-Gil and Samantha Jules.
Graduates of Benedictine Academy earned numerous academic awards from their school this year. “Highest Achievement” Awards were conferred upon the following graduates: Denise Allison- Environmental Science; Diane Araujo- Physical Education, and, World Religion; Natasha Ballah- Economics; Elizabeth Bukiron- Art: Design; Barbara Diogo- AP Biology, Honors Pre-Calculus, and World Religion; Priscille Dossekou- AP French; Stephanie Gaspar- Digital Photography; Samantha Jules- Pre-Calculus; Danah Lewis- Law; Delecia McPherson- British Literature, and, Psychology; Stephanie Sergent-Rojas- AP Spanish; Maria Soares- AP English, and, Psychology; Gabrielle Teixeira- Psychology.
Benedictine Academy also conferred “Second Highest Achievement Awards” upon the following graduates: Denise Allison- Psychology; Natasha Ballah- Psychology; Barbara Diogo- AP French, and, Digital Photography; Priscille Dossekou- World Religion; Joana Dunhao- Art: Design; Aimiosinor Igetei- Pre Calculus; Thanita Kennedy- AP Biology, AP French, Economics, and Honors Pre-Calculus; Danah Lewis- Physical Education; Delecia McPherson- Law.
Graduates earning Presidential Service Awards include Melissa Amorim, Diane Araujo, Elizabeth Bukiron, Vanessa Devia, Barbara Diogo, Anika Dodson, Priscille Dossekou, Stephanie Gaspar, Jordan Jenkins, Samantha Jules, Delecia McPherson, Katherine Rocha, Stephanie Sergent-Rojas and Gabrielle Teixeira. The Benedictine Academy Athlete of the Year is Amanda Boykins.
Graduates of Benedictine Academy’s Class of 2010 were accepted into schools of higher education including: Bloomfield College; Boston College; College of St. Elizabeth; Coppin State University; Delaware State University; Drew University; Drexel University; Fairleigh Dickinson University; Georgian Court University; Hampton University; Kean University; Montclair State University; New Jersey City University; New Jersey Institute of Technology; Notre Dame College; Pace University; Penn State University; Providence College; Rider University; Rutgers University; St. John’s University; St. Peter’s College; Seton Hall University; Siena College; South Carolina University and Temple University.
The complete list of Benedictine Academy 2010 graduates is: Denise Allison (Irvington), Melissa Amorim (Newark), Diane Araujo (Newark), Natasha Ballah (Irvington), Amanda Boykins (Irvington), Elizabeth Bukiron (Elizabeth), Raniquah Burroughs (Newark), Jenice Caldwell (Hillside), Cindy Cano ((Elizabeth), Cindy Carpintero (Newark), Shantia Cobb (Newark), Alioune Daniels (Roselle), Vanessa Devia (Elizabeth), Barbara Diogo (Newark), Anika Dodson (Hillside), Danielle Dorsey (Newark), Priscille Dossekou (Newark), Joana Dunhao (Newark), Karina Galarza (Newark), Adjani Gary-Gil (East Orange), Stephanie Gaspar (Elizabeth), Janesa Henry (Newark), Aimiosinor Igetei (Hillside), Marthe Jacquet (Roselle), Jordan Jenkins (Newark), Demecca Jones (East Orange), Samantha Jules (Newark), Kulvir Kaur (Hillside), Thanita Kennedy (Hillside), Melanie Lazaro (Newark), Danah Lewis (Hillside), La’Shae Lopez (Newark), Jennifer Lynch (East Orange), Natasha McDowell (Maplewood), Delecia McPherson (Irvington), Gretia Nicolas (Hillside), Leslye Paz (Elizabeth), Katherine Rocha (Union), Nancy Selladhurai (Elizabeth), Stephanie Sergent-Rojas (Elizabeth), Zuleyka Serrano (Newark), Cassandra Silva (Newark), Maria Soares (Newark), Gabrielle Teixeira (Newark), Brittany Thompson (Irvington), and Vachelle Wilson (Plainfield).
Priscille Dossekou of Newark received the St. Scholastica Award, which is given to the student who most exemplifies the virtues of the Benedictine way of life
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