LAHAINA - Families, teachers and dignitaries celebrated graduating Sacred Hearts School eighth graders' academic and honors accomplishments at the 2012 Graduation Ceremony on May 23 at Maria Lanakila Catholic Church.
Fr. Gary Colton, pastor, blessed the evening, and Principal Susan Hendricks welcomed the families and friends of Mary Anna Waldrop's eighth grade students.
Graduating this year were Jamie Advincula, Haleigh Berko, Blaine Casil, Chantal Charbonnier, Kieran Clark, Michael Doan, Geneva Leon, Summer Lopez, Cole Mindrum, Mikey Nguyen, Tiana Ompoy, Amanda Rizkalla and Joshua Schwartzlow.
Sacred Hearts School held graduation on Wednesday, May 23.
Advincula was honored with the Valedictory Award, and the Salutatory Awards went to Rizkalla and Schwartzlow.
The alumni Valedictorian and Salutatorian of 2011, Teak McAfee and Kaile Stockham, attended to introduce this year's recipients of the same academic awards for 2012.
Valedictorian Advincula described the Class of 2012 as: "Individuals trying to be ourselves," looking forward to a bright future and "rough and tumble that will necessarily happen."
Jamie encouraged her classmates to either "grab life by the horns or ride the waves."
Fr. Wojciech Jaskowiak, missionary priest from St. Joseph's in Makawao, a frequent guest at Sacred Hearts this year teaching Religion, delivered the commencement address.
He encouraged graduates to climb up and "climb down" like the great saints to courageously serve others.
Equating Saint Damien's joy with holiness, he advised students, "A sad saint is probably no saint at all."
In closing, he said, "All things" and all the graduates shouted, "are not as they seem!"
Sacred Hearts School began the Distinguished Alumni Award nine years ago to honor a graduate of SHS who has been a model of service to the community.
The 2012 award was presented to Tiffany Somera, graduate of the Class of 2002. Somera returned to Maui after completing her degree at Seattle University and serves as director of children's services at Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center.
This year, SHS middle school students began a community service project with Somera and her center, collecting supplies for the children that enhanced the learning and playground environment.
As a private preschool, elementary and middle school, Sacred Hearts School's mission is "to provide excellence in education and to nurture a life of prayer, faith and service in the Catholic tradition."
SHS students consistently perform above national averages on standardized tests in math, science, language arts and social studies and excel in high school and college.
Sacred Hearts' community of specialty teachers, administrators, parents, pastors and volunteers augment academics with enrichment and moral training that support the whole child - spiritually, culturally and emotionally.
This is the school's 150th year. Enrollment for the 2012-13 school year begins June 1. Applications and scholarship information are available online and Mondays through Fridays from the school secretary at 661-4720.
For information, call Jan Pasamonte at 661-4720 or e-mail secretary@ sacredheartsschool.net.