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Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm so proud I could burst!

There are very big doin's in the church tomorrow. The 1,000th baptism will be recorded at St. Paul's tomorrow and it's very, very exciting.

In the midst of all of that, we will be honoring our graduating seniors and I want to shine the spotlight on them, even if a bit early.

I've watched these kids in the past six years. I've helped to train them as Acolytes, Crucifers and Torchbearers, and worked with them on Sundays.

I've taught them in Confirmation Class, which Tim Wong and I co-teach, and rejoiced when they wrote their own 'Creed of the Council of The Chathams', had their Commissioning Service and designed their own "All About Me" tables, and then went on to be Confirmed at the Cathedral of Trinity and St. Phillip.

I've given them my cell phone number along with Tim's and told them if they were ever in a situation where they felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave but were concerned about calling their parents, they were to call one of us immediately and one of us would pick them up and take them home, no questions asked - from me or their parents. Some of them have done just that, and have honored us with their trust while honoring their own intelligence, and bodies, and souls and moral fiber.

I've come to know their stories, their dreams, their fears. For some, I have written a recommendation for college or scholarships. I can attest that they are GREAT kids, and I'm so proud of them!

And now, off they go to college. It's an amazing feeling, being their pastor and having had a hand, in some small way, with their formation as young adults.

So, without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you St. Paul's Graduating Class of 2008.

Erin Halliday
College: University of Rhode Island
Major: Undecided
Erin will continue to pursue figure skating.

David Huke
College: Miami University of Ohio
Major: Undecided
St. Paul's Mission Trip to Cagaus, Puerto Rico (2005), and San Antonio, Belize (2007)

Sarah Lowe
College: Lehigh University
Major: Business
New Providence High School soccer, basketball and track
National Honor Society
Spanish National Honor Society

Bryan Mills
College: Cornell University
Major: Applied Economics and Management with a specialty in Finance
Newark Academy Honor Roll
Newark Academy Fencing Team
Sang Baritone for Vigorosos (Acapella singing group)
Played keyboard for Chamelean (Jazz Group)
Oboe 1 in concert band and orchestra
Speech and Debate Club, Math Club, Tech Club, Chess Club, Strategic Gaming Frum and Otaku Club
Sailing/Cruising (Part-time Helmsman)
St. Paul's 2005 Mission Trip to Caguas, Puerto Rico

Billy Ready
College: Michigan State University
Major: Pre-Med
Member of Diocesan YEPT (Youth Event Planning Team)
St. Paul's Mission Trip to Caguas, Puerto Rico (2005), Somerville, TN (2006), San Antonio, Belize (2007), And Parsons, KS (2008)

Stan Serbanica
College: NYU
Major: Pre-Med and/or Business
Chatham High School Class President (3 consecutive years)
Voted most likely to succeed
Austin O. Hooey Scholarship ($40,000 awarded to one senior every year)
St. Paul's Mission Trip to Cagaus, Puerto Rico (2005)

Max Stelzer
College: University of Miami
Major: Economics
Minor: Spanish
Key Club (4 years)
Chatham High School Bowling team (3 years)
Volunteer for Chatham Township Recycling Effort
Volunteer at Chatham Library Book Sale
St. Paul's Mission Trip to Caguas, Puerto Rico (2005), Somerville, TN (2006), San Antonio, Belize (2007), and Parsons, KS (2008)

At their baptism, we asked God, in part, to " . . .give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works."

Our prayers have clearly been answered. It is with a truly greatful heart that I ask you to join me in saying Amen.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Contragulations to the beautiful young people! I honor you too, Elizabeth. Have you forgotton that you are a graduate?

And the 1000th baptism is truly exciting.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, I remember, Mimi, but you know, thinking back on my days and studies in High School, for some reason THAT seemed much harder that my doctorate.

College was hard, but I didn't have the same focus and determination, somehow, as I did in High School, and that made it different.

Seminary was hard, at times, but filled with such joy and anticipation. I had a focus and a goal, like high school.

Hmm . . .how was high school for you, compared to college and/or graduate/doctoral studies?

emmy said...

I'll be thinking of you all tomorrow! I can't believe I'm gonna miss all the fun :(. Are balloons and confetti going to fall from the sky for the baptism??? And congrats to the grads!!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh, Em, you'll have your own fun at camp. I just know it. No balloons. No confetti. Just Ruach. That's enough. Oh, and a REALLY BIG luncheon to follow. I just finished making bourbon chicken tenders and a whole VAT of potato salad.

FranIAm said...

God bless the graduating seniors and the baptized one and all!

Kirkepiscatoid said...

What a great day for them, and for you! It is exciting to see how they've grown, and to see all the changes in "their first decade of adulthood." I see that a lot with my osteopathic medical students. They come to me in the 2nd year pretty much still with the attitudes of undergraduates and somewhere along the way they become "young doctors". It is my glimpse of the Transfiguration. I'm sure you feel that way about these young folk!

Jane R said...

What a gorgeous photo! These too are your children.

Congratulations to all!

High school was in a different country for me, so I missed (in the sense of not being there, not in the sense of wishing I'd had it; I'm still happy I didn't go to high school in this country) all the U.S. high school culture. We were all focused on academics (and of course, on rock and roll and falling in love, but there is no school-based sports/football/cheerleader/clubs/extracurriculars culture in France, at least in the public schools where I was) and on taking and passing the big exam in June (Baccaulauréat) that was (and is) both high school diploma and college entrance exam. So it was definitely a rite of passage, but there was no graduation ceremony. The rite of passage was the taking of the several days of exams and then the waiting for results, and exhaling (or weeping and gnashing of teeth0 upon receiving the results. Then we had our own parties --or not-- when there were parties they were a mix of family celebrations and celebrations with friends.

My friend and former boyfriend whose daughter is graduating from high school this month says that in his (upper-middle to upper-class) suburb in the Midwest every kid hosts a party, so there are parties for about three weekends in a row and the high school grads go from one to the other (this is in addition to the graduation hoopla). Not sure what is happening with the church youth group (very good Presbyterian youth group which has attracted kids from other denominations --my friend and his daughter started out as Catholics-- because it is so fine); I must ask.

Congratulations again! And what a wonderful thing you and your associate did for the young people. These are the folks I get in my college classes and I wish all of them had had an adult presence in their life like yours.

Hooray! And alleluia! And thank you!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Kirke - Great analogy with the Transfiguration. You're right.

Jane R - Thanks for your observations about high school. I think these kids will present a real challenge to their freshmen college prof's.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Hmm . . .how was high school for you, compared to college and/or graduate/doctoral studies?

High school was the most fun. I attended an all-girl Roman Catholic school, and we worked hard, but still managed to have a lot of fun. I'm still friends with a couple of the "girls".

After the freshman year in college, I lost my focus, too, because I was no longer terrified that I would not make the grade, so I coasted. A lot of good learning opportunity was wasted, because I was not very serious about my studies. Nor was I serious in graduate school. I did what I had to do to get by, except for several courses that I really loved. I threw myself into those and worked hard.

My real education has come from reading and living since I left formal education behind, but I've never stopped wanting to learn.

How nice of you to ask, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mimi, you are one of the nicest people I know - and one of the most real. The combination of the two is delightful.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Well, now I'm blushing. Love you back, Elizabeth.