La Salle’s Class of 2019 graduated on Saturday, June 8, at Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualatin.
During the school’s 50th commencement, La Salle president/principal Andrew Kuffner challenged the 167 class members to live up to the school motto, “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.”
“The paper diploma you will receive shortly, representing past good work is frankly, meaningless unless it is also accompanied by future good work,” he said to them.
“These past four years you have done more than just complete the coursework," he continued. "You have explored your faith, you have served the marginalized, you have forged relationships, you have acted as big brothers and big sisters, you have competed, and acted and performed and engaged. You have done more than can ever be reflected in a piece of paper. Your charge is to continue to do more.”
The members of the Class of 2019 have proven they are up to the challenge.
During their high school careers they've launched rockets, made musical instruments, and written plays. They've studied world religions, debated current events, and created their own periodic tables.
Outside of the classroom, they’ve competed in athletics, talked their way to the top of speech and debate competitions, created award-winning art, staged sold-out musicals on La Salle’s stage, and held down jobs. They’ve served food to the hungry at Blanchet House, visited the U.S.-Mexican border to learn about immigration issues, tutored Native American children, and mentored students at a Milwaukie elementary school.
All the while, they submitted 819 college applications and earned 101 scholarships worth $13.6 million.
But valedictorian Brigid Hanley, who is heading to the University of Arizona, reassured her classmates that they don't have to be perfect.
“Even if everything falls apart, or the things you thought you wanted you don’t anymore, or you need to start over at some point, your worth is not on the line,” she said. “All of you here are going to be OK!”
After thanking family, friends, and teachers, she wished her classmates well.
"I hope that in the next crazy stage of your life, beyond La Salle — you remember to go outside — if that’s what brings you that feeling — that peace. Put away your phones, (away, away). Go outside and lay on the ground (preferably in the sun) far from everyone and breathe. Just be with yourself, and you’ll feel how much you’ve changed. Love your body for being alive, and part of the place you’re in."