The word bittersweet is commonly used to describe graduations, but the word found particular resonance for students, teachers, parents and graduates of Our Lady of Fatima High school at their 44th and final graduation Friday. The school closes its doors after 47 years of providing middle and high school education in Warren.
"Bittersweet is the word" said Principal Mary Margaret Souza. "It's a joyful occassion obviously to those who are graduating, it's a sad occassion because it's the last graduating class for the school."
Victoria V, Kosowski, class president, went on to use the word in her addressing of the audience.
"Tonight is a bittersweet goodbye, not only to the class of 2012, but to this very institution from which we are graduating," she said. "Once we step off this stage, and walk out the doors, they will be closed forever. Our memories are all that are left, for there is no coming back to relive them in these halls."
"It's how you would expect it to be," said David Mulligan, long-time teacher at the school. He described it as particularly difficult on 11th graders, who will have to spend their last year of high school in a new setting.
"It was traumatic when it was first announced," said Kenneth Ascoli, assistant principal of the school. "It was very, very emotional, for the students, for parents, and for teachers as well. I think they've reached the point of acceptance now... although there's still a feeling of remorse."
"Things at Fatima have been hectic," said salutitorian John Patrick Delamer, who said he hopes to enjoy some "peace and quiet" before heading off to college at Texas Christian University in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX.
"And, I could do without the tassle in my face," he added.
"It's really sad," said valedictorian Leslie E. Pavao, who plans on attending Stonehill College in the Fall. "I feel bad for anybody who didn't get an opportunity to attend."
As for the final class?
"They describe themselves as pieces of a puzzle. When all the pieces are put together, they're energetic, they're fun, they're a family," said Ascoli.
Sister Mary Margaret, when asked to describe them was unhesitant. "[They're] rambunctuous," she said. "[They're] full of life."
In her address, Pavao summed up the effect the school has had on her, stating, "The small and wonderful school will soon shut its doors for the final time; the dust motes will settle on the gleaming floor and the sun will slant through the windows onto empty desks, but its example has been firmly etched upon all who have been a part of it."
"It was... unforgettable," said Pavao, before commencement. "You really can't compare anything to your four years at Fatima."
The Our Lady of Fatima Class of 2012 consists of:
- Amie Achilli
- Hailey Marie Bober
- Dongxia Mia Chen
- John Patrick Delamer
- Nicholas L. Drury
- Patrick Joseph Fogarty
- Chelsleigh Alexa Gomez
- Kendra Marie Hicks
- Christine Faith Johnson
- Marisa C.B. King
- Victoria Vivian Kosowski
- Megan E. Lawson
- Alexander G. Melfi
- Jmie Austin Nunes
- Emma L. O'Halloran
- Alexandra Louise Parayno
- Leslie E. Pavao
- Tighe Daniel Andrew Ratcliffe
- Linda A. Rebello
- Dillon Kenneth Renzi
- Ryan Salois
- William Edward Waddicor