Cardinal Spellman High School held its 47th commencement on Saturday, June 6 at the Lehman College Performing Arts Center, with 298 young men and women receiving diplomas. Rev. Trevor Nicholls, president of Cardinal Spellman, presided over the ceremony, and welcomed everyone in attendance. An invocation by Rev. Francis J. Principe, director of Spiritual Activities, was followed by Kristiana Brooks of the Class of 2009 singing the National Anthem.
Neil McCarthy, Ph.D., principal of Cardinal Spellman, reminded the graduates that their families had made enormous sacrifices to enable them to attend Spellman, and “as graduates, you are a part of Spellman and always welcome back.” Recognition was given by Dr. McCarthy to teachers who have reached anniversary years: Michael Philp, Fred Opper, and Frank Nardone (20 years); Timothy Rivlin (25 years); Dr. Loretta Tomasiello and Jeri Faulkner (30 years); Vilma Mazzella (35 years); and Fr. John Monaghan (45 years).
Prior to the awarding of diplomas, Anne Gevlin, who was at Spellman for 29 years, most of them as dean and assistant principal, addressed the graduates. She recounted that 50 years ago this September, Spellman opened with its first freshmen class of approximately 150 students at a temporary location on Marmion Avenue. Forty seven years later, 19,158 have graduated from the school, including the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, recently nominated for the Supreme Court by President Obama. Gevlin stressed how the nervous boys and girls that entered the school in September 2005 have become the men and women graduating in 2009.
Student speakers were valedictorian Lauren Carew, the top ranked student in the Class of 2009, and salutatorian Jobeth Arceo, who was second. The Cardinal Spellman Trophy and Memorial Scholarship, given to the two students who best embody the spirit of Francis Cardinal Spellman, was awarded to Christian Jacobs and Barbara Ofosu-Somuah. Devon Osei and Frances Trosa received the Spellman Spirit Award, while the Spellman Alumni Award went to Randy Eustache and Julie Fuentes. The Seton-DeLaSalle Award, named in honor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, founder of the Sisters of Charity, and Saint John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, was presented to Jamie Lee Ramos and Matthew White.
Special recognition was given to the Biolsi family, who had their sixth child graduate from Spellman this year. Kimberly Biolsi of the Class of 2009 was preceded by Theresa ‘01, Matthew ‘02, Andrew ‘04, Timothy ‘05, and Nicole ‘07.