The High School of Saint Thomas More held its Baccalaureate and Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 20th, at 2 pm for 70 students. STM was honored to have the Knights of Columbus leading the procession. Father Matthew Hoelscher served as celebrant and homilist with the area vicariate pastors concelebrating. Jake Sellet, Michael Lee and Abbey Horn received the St. Thomas More Awards, the highest award presented by the school. In her Valedictorian/House Leader speech, Maddie Evangelisti advised her fellow classmates: “Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid. Put yourself out there. Use your strengths and abilities God’s given all of you. Nothing can stop us because of the strong faith base and support system we have built up in our tiny Catholic school. As we exit the doors of STM, more doors will open. Our horizons will spread to Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa, and so many other places, but we will always have each other and God to call our true home.”
Students were recognized at the annual Senior Honors Luncheon on Friday, May 18th. Salutatorian Michael Lee spoke about the importance of the Catholic Education he received because of the dedicated teachers and staff and also the support of his classmates. Faculty members presented departmental awards recognizing excellence in the various academic subjects, and seniors received recognition for numerous awards and scholarships related to academics and service.
The 70 graduates completed over 12,100 service hours; 84% of them will attend a 4 year university with 16% attending a 2 year college. The graduating seniors received over $5.7 million in merit and/or athletic scholarships. Among the 70 graduates, one received a National Merit Scholar Commendation, Michael Lee, and 19 were named Illinois State Scholars.
Not only did we recognize our Class of 2018 graduates, but we also those Faculty and Staff who will be taking a new step in life after their years of service to STM. In a particular way we have been blessed by the presence of Mrs. Eleni Sofronis who has been the Latin teacher at STM since the school opened in 2000. Mrs. Sofronis has touched the lives of many students helping them to grow in their understanding and love of the Latin language, but most importantly by her witness of faith to inspire students to see how their faith impacts their whole lives. We also say goodbye to Mrs. Maria Tucker our long time Food Services Director. Mrs. Tucker poured all of her time and energy into the meals that she serves for our students at lunch, but also provided the many treats at various STM extra-curricular activities. We will definitely miss her tasty meals as she truly did all she had with great love for STM. Finally, we say wish the best of luck to our Chaplain Fr. Matthew Hoelscher. Fr. Hoelscher has served STM in his first four years of his priesthood as the STM Chaplain. He has been an encouraging presence for all of our students, staff, and teachers to know that God loves them and to invite them into the deep and intimate relationship with Christ that we are all called to. We wish Fr. Hoelscher the best of luck in his new assignment at Rock Island Alleman High School and welcome Fr. Eric Bolek to STM as our new Chaplain!
As with life, STM as a Catholic School continues to welcome and say goodbye to members of our STM Family. It is important for us to remember however that no matter what they are still members of our STM Family - whether they are students, families, teachers, staff, alumni, alumni donors, benefactors, etc. We pray and hope that all of our STM Family has a blessed and restful summer as we look toward the future and the continual new beginnings the Lord has in store for us.