On May 27th, Sacred Heart Preparatory (SHP) graduated 154 students at its 124th commencement ceremony. Graduates from the Class of 2022 will attend at least 79 different institutions; at least 62 students will study in California; at least 92 will study out of state, and three of those students will study out of the country. Fifteen graduates earned recognition by the National Merit Scholarship program.
Twenty-three members of the graduating class have been on the preschool – grade 12 Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) campus for 13 or more years.
This year’s event was held at SHS’s football field, a formal ceremony in front of families, with the delivery of diplomas to graduates, and the traditional reading of each graduate’s name aloud. For the first time in two years—because of previous years’ Covid-19-related restrictions—the school was able to celebrate graduation with the Religious of the Sacred Heart, members of the Board of Trustees, and faculty and staff.
At the ceremony, diplomas were presented by Gary Kirkham, chair of the board of trustees; Richard A. Dioli, director of schools; Jorge Reyes, assistant principal, curriculum and academics; and Frank Rodriguez, assistant principal of athletics. Dioli gave remarks along with SHP Principal Dr. Jennie Whitcomb; Valedictorian Tyler Ratcliffe; Salutatorian Millie Muir; and faculty speaker Greg Roig, SHP social science teacher.
Following a century-old school tradition, “blue ribbons” were awarded to select students, nominated and elected by the faculty and ratified by the administration. Blue ribbons are the highest honor given by SHS to graduating seniors and reflect outstanding achievement in academics and standards of character in the fulfillment of one or more of the school’s guiding Goals & Criteria.
Graduates receiving a light blue ribbon, for embodiment of a particular goal and its criteria, were awarded to:
- John Adrian Dioli, John Kirincich, and Stella Parker for Goal I: A personal and active faith in God;
- Annelise Brew, and Catherine Jewitt for Goal II: A deep respect for intellectual values;
- Aanvi Kapoor, Soleil Repple, and Caroline Salame for Goal III: A social awareness which impels to action;
- Luke Johnston, Kate Newton, Elison Noto, and Matilda Tangitau for Goal IV: The building of community as a Christian value;
- Ilaria Freccia, Katherine Sinclair, and Lia Smith for Goal V: Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom
Graduates William Heafey, Millie Muir, and Ella Woodhead each received a dark blue ribbon, for embodiment of the values implicit in a Sacred Heart education.
For 16 consecutive years, SHP’s athletics program has sent at least 10 percent of each year’s graduating class to play athletics at the intercollegiate level, well above the national average. The Class of 2022 will send 28 students to play in 12 different sports; of that number, nearly 70 percent will compete for NCAA Division I teams.
“The class of ’22 persevered through nearly two-and-a-half years of high school athletics that were impacted by Covid-19,” said Frank Rodriguez, assistant principal of athletics. “It took incredible effort both in and out of the classroom for this group to continue the pursuit of their athletic dreams—we couldn’t be prouder of them.”
With the class of 2022’s college choices ranging from public and private institutions large and small, with sectarian and non-sectarian among the mix, the student body shows a similar breadth of interests in their future academic goals. Students plan to pursue educational programs as wide-ranging as STEM, visual and performing arts, humanities, social studies, business, and more.
Valedictorian Tyler Ratcliffe shared that over the course of his 15 years as a student at SHS, one of the many “Sacred Heart sayings” he memorized has stood out the most: “’Come as you are, and be cared for with great love.’”
“There are tens of thousands of high schools in the U.S., and many of them have a lot in common with us: great academics, great extracurriculars, and great sports. Out of all of that, it’s this attitude that makes Sacred Heart unique.”