• 45°

St. Joe says goodbye to graduates

If Ben Higgins was maybe a little nervous, he didn’t look it as he walked toward St. Joseph Catholic Church Friday evening.

Higgins and 14 other young people walked into the church as a St. Joseph High School seniors and then out a couple of hours later as fully-fledged graduates, ready for the world.

Higgins said he will work this summer and then plans to major in either physical therapy or education at Shawnee State University this fall.

Higgins’ best friend, Treasure Craft was there to see him graduate. When school starts next year, classes may not seem the same without Higgins’ and some other familiar faces in the corridors of St. Joe.

“I’ve been thinking about that,” Craft admitted. “But we’ll still see each other. He just lives up the street.”

Katie Hacker came to see her friends graduate, too.

“I’ll probably cry tonight,” she said.

Inside the church undercroft, Anthony Whaley waited with a few other students for the start of the commencement service.

“I guess I’m kind of happy and kind of sad,” he reflected. “We’re moving on.” He will attend University of Dayton this fall and major in chemical engineering.

What will Whaley miss the most about those days at St. Joe?

“The family atmosphere, since we’re all so close,” he said.

It is that sense of closeness that assistant principal Chris Monte said best describes the Class of 2010.

“All of our students are close but this one seemed to be especially close,” he observed.

Billie Cogan, who teaches life sciences, said she hoped that closeness would serve the students well as they venture out into the world as young adults. Her advice?

“Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Have fun. Don’t forget your roots,” she said. “You may have your wings but don’t forget your roots.”

Thomas Schwab came to see his son, Spencer, graduate.

“I’m happy for him but it’s a big step,” Schwab said. “But he’s ready to get out. It’s been fun watching him grow up, go through school, play sports.” Dad’s advice to Spencer?

“Enjoy life, especially while you’re young,” Schwab said. “Don’t sweat the little things and they’re all little things. Enjoy life. That’s the main thing.”