As the school year has come to a close, we send off yet another extraordinary senior class. On May 28th, the Class of 2022 gathered one last time for their graduation ceremony. The ceremony was held in the SHA gymnasium and started at 11:00 am. Faculty, staff, families, and friends all gathered for this beautiful event.
The seniors processed in, led by the Top 6 students, Mehr Chhatre, Chiamaka Alino, Nikita Khanna, Delfina Ferro, Kelsey Le, and Julia Diangelo. Once the girls took their seats, Dr. Sengupta began her Welcome Speech as she celebrated, and thanked the students and parents. She also acknowledged the faculty and staff for their dedication and the difference they made in the lives of the Class of 2022. After her speech, Nikita Khanna delivered the Graduate Prayer.
Next, Chiamaka Alino delivered the Salutatorian Address. She dedicated her speech to the Robb Elementary School children who died in the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. She mentions the quote, “What hurts the victim the most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander”. Chiamaka discussed how crucial it is to stand up for what is right even if it makes you uncomfortable because as SHA girls our voices matter. Her speech gave all those who were listening something extremely important to reflect on as they go out into the world.
Following Chiamaka’s address, Sr. Sheila spoke about the Class of 2022 as students, athletes, artists, and musicians. She thanked the class for bringing back the SHA sparkle this year through their leadership and enthusiasm in every event held in and out of school. She reflected on how much of a pleasure it was to watch the class grow throughout their four years and how proud she was of every one of them.
Sr. Sheila bestowed two awards that have been a part of the Sacred Heart Academy history for many years: The Sister Antoine Signorelli Award and the Blessed Clelia Merloni Award. The Sister Antoine Signorelli Award is given to the student who, in the opinion of the sisters, displays passion for SHA and shares the spirit of SHA with others. Jenna Davis was the recipient of this Excelsior Award. The Blessed Clelia Merloni award is given to the student who exemplifies love, charism, and reparation. Azucena Zecua-Herrera was the recipient of this award.
Then, Sr. Sheila and Sr. Kathleen conferred the diplomas on the students; each receiving individual recognition as her name was called.
Mehr Chhatre delivered the Valedictorian Address. She began her speech with a prayer for the families of the victims of the Uvalde, Texas Shooting. Mehr thanked both Sr. Kathleen and Sr Sheila, the faculty, staff, and families, for their never-ending support during their years. She talked about the community she found within her class and how SHA has encouraged her to find what she loves. Her biggest takeaway from SHA was the value of forming connections. She says, that although independence is important, it should not mean isolation. She detailed the countless moments that she felt part of a community throughout her time at Sacred Heart. She expresses, “…just mundane parts of daily life at Sacred Heart, it was these moments that allowed me to see the spirit of this school, the sense of togetherness, and kindness we have come to love. It was these little moments that led to Strong Bonds that will forever connect us”. Not only did Mehr talk about these little moments but also the large memories that have an impact. She spoke about the times when she felt a sense of community, especially during the class’s Freshman year Spirit Week where they dressed as cowboys for State Day. They all were dressed differently however, there was still unity among the girls. For her, community is not conformity as everyone has unique qualities that they can use to achieve a goal together. Mehr finished her speech thanking all those in the SHA community who helped the Class of 2022 blossom into the bright young women they are today. The Class of 2022 then led the singing of a heartfelt and emotional Alma Mater. The girls then processed out and tossed their caps at the front of the building!
As a whole, the Class of 2022 has left some big shoes to fill. They have filled our halls with love, laughter, music, and dance, and helped every class under them find a sense of community. To the class of 2022, we will miss you dearly but always remember you all as extraordinary SHA girls!