St. Mary’s commencement ceremony celebrates Class of 2021

On front row from left are Grace Lemoine, Jensen Parker, Jessi Lucky and Madeline Godfrey. On second row are Laura Aviles, Cayleigh Braud, Maggie Gilmore, Abby Williams, Abigail Miller, Jeffrey Townson, Michael Guillet and Dagan Watson. On third row are Karson Eversull, Dane Files, Jace Miley, Noah Heard, Triston Mitchell, Cameron Churchman, Patrick Vienne, Luke Zeagler, Tim Lyddy, Andrew Godfrey and Ben Smiley.

Twenty-three students representing the Class of 2021 recently graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic School during the 133rd Commencement ceremony for the school.   Bishop Robert Marshall and Superintendent Tommy Roque were in attendance representing the Catholic Diocese of Alexandria.  Father Blake Deshautelle, Chancellor, Former Principal Andrea Harrell, along with the faculty and staff of St. Mary’s, were also present for the evening.

Class Valedictorians reflected on lessons learned and values taught during their years at St. Mary’s.  Valedictorians maintaining a 4.0 grade point average, while taking honors and dual enrollment courses, were Laura Aviles, Maggie Gilmore, Andrew Godfrey and Jensen Parker.

In addition, the following awards were presented during the ceremony:

The American Legion Patriotism Award was given to Ben Smiley by the Gordon Peters Post of Natchitoches. This award is given to one male student who has set an example of patriotism, loyalty, and leadership.

The American Legion Auxiliary Award was presented to Jensen Parker.  This award is given to a graduating senior girl who has demonstrated outstanding characteristics in Americanism, leadership and citizenship, all of which have been utilized in serving her school, community and church. The recipient also must have participated in Louisiana Girls State.

The Louisiana Sheriff’s Honorary Membership Program recognized Maggie Gilmore as a second alternate for their scholarship. The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office is an affiliate of the Honorary Membership Program.

The Mayor’s Award was presented to Madeline Godfrey.  This award is given to a senior who demonstrates outstanding leadership and community service to St. Mary’s, the City of Natchitoches and the State of Louisiana.

The Superintendent’s Award was presented to Grace Lemoine.  In 2012, Mr. Thomas Roque established the Superintendent’s Award, which is given each year to a graduating senior who has exhibited resilience and perseverance.

The Kelli Sampson Agency and Shelter Insurance Foundation scholarships were presented to Maggie Gilmore, Jensen Parker and Luke Zeagler.  The recipients of this award are selected based upon scholastic achievement as well as reputation for good citizenship and good moral character.

The John and Jason McCain Memorial Scholarship was presented to Cameron Churchman.  This award is given annually to a senior boy or girl who most exemplifies the characteristics of both John and Jason McCain and the spirit of St. Mary’s. This scholarship is awarded to a student who plans to attend Northwestern State University.

The Maggio Family Scholarship was presented to Jessi Lucky.  Sister Ann Carmel Maggio and the Maggio family established a scholarship in honor of their parents, Sam and Carmelite Maggio, whose 11 children attended St. Mary’s. The student who receives this award every year has his or her name added to a plaque that is hung in the hallway at the school.

The Michael Andrews Memorial Scholarship was presented to Andrew Godfrey.  This award is given by the Andrews family in memory of their son who graduated from St. Mary’s. The recipient of this scholarship should possess similar characteristics of Michael: perseverance, drive and dedication to the all around educational experience obtained at St. Mary’s.

The Mr. and Miss SMH award was presented to Andrew Godfrey and Maggie Gilmore. This award is given to the male and female students selected by the faculty and administration to represent the best of the St. Mary’s student body.  The selected students are thoroughly involved and represent St. Mary’s Catholic School by their virtues of integrity, courage, compassion, service and humility, both inside and outside of the school.

The Bishop Martin Award was presented to Michael Guillet. This award is given to students that have led by example, attempted to maintain and exhibit Catholic Christian values, and have taken advantage of the religious foundation offered at St. Mary’s to reach their full potential spiritually, academically and physically.

This group of students had a class average ACT composite score of 22, and were given the opportunity to earn twenty four hours of college credit through dual enrollment courses. Four students will be continuing their athletic careers at the collegiate level for baseball, football and track and field.  Two students will continue cheering with their collegiate cheer team.  The class has a one hundred percent college attendance rate with students attending Northwestern State University, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Hendrix College in Arkansas, Louisiana College, Louisiana State University, LSU-Eunice, LSU-Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University and University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  The 2021 class was offered and accepted approximately $1,947,200 in scholarships over a total of 4 years.

St. Mary’s is a Catholic, co-educational college preparatory school that educates students from preschool through 12th grade.  It is a ministry of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church.