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Commencement 2019

Bishop O’Dowd High School’s 65th Commencement was held on Sunday, June 2, at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre of the Arts.

On May 31, members of the Class of 2019 and their families gathered in the large gymnasium for the Baccalaureate Mass, celebrated by O’Dowd Chaplain Fr. Jim Sullivan. A reception on the Quad followed.

At the Commencement, Pearl Li delivered the valedictory address, while Alden O’Rafferty gave the salutatory address.

Li said that as the new graduates look forward to a new chapter in their lives, they shouldn’t forget those who have guided them along the high school journey, particularly their teachers.

“It is under the guidance of amazing teachers at O’Dowd that we have become both academically and mentally prepared for challenges along the way that imparted to us problem-solving skills, resilience, the ability to connect and collaborate with others, and a more comprehensive understanding of ourselves and the world around us,” she said.

O’Rafferty walked her classmates down memory lane, from their first day of BOWOW when they donned an O’Dowd polo for the first time to Grad Night. “It all goes by in a blur,” she said. “Take a second to look around you. Try to think of a memory you have with the people near you, even if it’s as tiny as sitting near each other at fire drills.”

Added O’Rafferty, “These memories don’t disappear as we graduate. These people don’t either. You have both for the rest of your life. You have O’Dowd for the rest of your life.”

One of the highlights of the Commencement was the presentation of the Cor Unum Award to former faculty member Tom Tyler who addressed the students. Tyler’s two children, Sage and Maya, are alums from the Class of 2013.

Named for the school’s motto, “One Heart in Christ,” the Cor Unum Award is Bishop O’Dowd High School’s highest honor. It is presented each year to select members of the O’Dowd community whose lives and work embody the school’s Mission to create a more just, joyful and sustainable world.

Tyler was recognized for his integral role – as a teacher, parent, volunteer and respected advisor – in educating the O’Dowd community about our shared responsibility in caring for the earth and helping further our school’s commitment to Kinship with Creation.

Meanwhile, several students received special awards during the Commencement Exercises.

Alden O’Rafferty and Colm Connolly received the General Activity awards, presented to students who are distinguished by scholarship, excellence in conduct and outstanding devotion to Bishop O’Dowd High School through participation and demonstrated leadership in extracurricular and cocurricular activities.

Colleen Cushing and Keshawn Wynn received the Loyalty awards, presented in recognition of their consistent support to the student body, staff and parents in carrying out activities, and their willingness to give of self in terms of service.

Scholar-Athlete awards went to Elizabeth Avery and Austin Jones for distinguishing themselves through consistent excellence in academics and athletics, and demonstrated good sportsmanship on the athletic field.

Aisha McMahon and Xavier Brown received the Regents’ Award, given to the seniors who most exemplify the mission of Bishop O’ Dowd High School.

The members of the Class of 2019 will soon be headed to colleges and universities throughout the country. A complete listing will be included in the fall/winter 2019 issue of the Dragon magazine.


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