The Closing Prayer Service at Mount St. Mary Academy has always elicited fond memories, class unity and yes, some tears, and this year’s service was no exception for the Class of 2017. The students, faculty, administrators and Sisters of Mercy gathered as a school community one last time with this year’s seniors to celebrate the gift of the past school year and look forward to next steps on the journey.
Monsignor Frederick began the prayer service by telling the seniors that it was time for them to GO — to spread God’s mercy and live their faith as they move into the next phase of life.
Student Body President Grace Clark ’17 remembered the last four years with her classmates and how they have grown into the sisterhood she didn’t think was possible when she entered the school as a freshman. She recalled the challenges and the events that have bonded their class as well as the teachers and leaders in faith who have led them through adversity, and she thanked the student body for her opportunity to serve as their leader.
Three teachers were thanked for their exceptional service to the school as they move on to new chapters of their lives:
Kara Tobey, math instructor
Olivia Dumboski ’08, social studies instructor
Mary Logan, social studies instructor
The Closing Prayer Service marked the “end of an era” for a few different reasons. Included with the goodbyes to the seniors, Mary Logan announced her retirement after having taught at Mount St. Mary Academy for the past 37 years. And, after 166 years of Sisters of Mercy residing on the campus of Mount St. Mary Academy, the student body bid farewell to the last two Sisters in residence. Sr. Ann Hardcastle ’54 and Sr. Jolitta Konecny ’55 were honored for their years of service to the school community as it was announced they will be relocating to the Sisters’ retirement home in Barling, Arkansas.
Lifting everyone’s spirits were the well wishes from students in the freshmen, sophomore and junior classes before Caroline Wahlgreen ’17 gave an entertaining recollection of the past four years, and then, final traditions concluded the time at the Mount for the Class of 2017. Seniors were called to receive their graduation tassels — the last symbolic gift in a four-year tradition at Mount St. Mary Academy following freshman mercy cards, sophomore mercy pins and junior class rings. After the seniors sang their class song, the service ended with a surprise performance by an ensemble of MSM teacher singers and musicians.
Just as each class enters through an honor guard of their schoolmates at their first all-school prayer service, the seniors conclude their last day on campus by exiting through an honor guard made up of their teachers and administrators. Spending their final time together with words of gratitude and encouragement, they ended their last day and their time at Mount St. Mary Academy and set off on the weeks leading up to graduation.
More photos from Closing Prayer Service: