Manistee Catholic Central graduates 12

Nolan Fortier holds his newly acquired diploma. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee Catholic Central’s gymnasium saw plenty hugs, handshakes, smiles and tears at the Class of 2019’s commencement ceremony on Friday.

Though graduation marks the end of a chapter in the lives of the senior class, valedictorian Sean Dougherty encouraged his peers to hold onto the memories made within the confines of their beloved school.

“Don’t allow the spirit of these halls to fade away when you walk out of those doors today,” he implored. “Bring it with you. Even when we are all far apart, working in twelve different directions and facing challenges that seem completely different, bring us with you.”

The Sabers reflected upon the past and braced for the future on Friday night. Former MCC teacher Matthew LaMore gave the commencement address before Principal Jason Allen presented the graduates their diplomas.

“The question I ask you tonight is: Who is it that you think you are? In my mind, you are different,” LaMore said. “You always have been. … You were the class that everyone looked forward to having as the upperclassmen. As a group, you have always given us hope. You are charismatic, you are well-mannered, you are intellectual and you are fun to be around.

“As the upperclassmen, you have not disappointed us,” he continued. “… Your success in athletics and your intellectual accomplishments brought this school tremendous credibility and pride.”

The Class of 2019 is comprised of Brett Brown, Joseph Buswinka, Elena Cunsolo, Dougherty, Nolan Fortier, Justen Kuenzer, Reese Papenfuss, Brayden Perkins, Preston Picardat, John Slivka, Eric Stickney and Greta Vitali. Though Friday was in all likelihood the last time those 12 will be together under one roof, salutatorian Slivka explained that the individuals are what made Manistee Catholic Central so special.

“MCC is not the brick and mortar building that we walk into everyday,” he said. “It is so much more than that. It is all of us who are present in this room today, it is the alumni who come back for special events like Homecoming and share their stories with us and it is the future Sabers in Manistee who are just itching to walk through the front doors and make their own impact on this school.”

The graduates will be heading out into the real world, and with that comes a lot of uncertainty. Dougherty told his classmates they will face challenges in the future, but that he has confidence they will be able to persevere, overcome and flourish.

“Struggle will become an old friend and until we pass on, we will struggle,” he said. “Don’t resent the struggle. It is our purpose to struggle. Don’t resent the death, pain, hardship and consequence you will face and have faced. It gives meaning to your growth, victory and triumph. So I urge you to struggle, thrash and claw against the future.

“When I look out on my class today, I see your unlimited potential to struggle, grow and thrive.”

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