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Leaving a legacy

St. Michael Catholic High School’s first graduating class helps create school’s culture

 

By ROB HERBST

The Catholic Week

FAIRHOPE — St. Michael Catholic School Class of 2019 valedictorian Caroline Zitnik was initially “very, very scared” to transfer high schools after her freshman year and enroll at a brand-new high school.

But thanks to her risk and the risk taken by all 46 members of the school’s first graduating class, a foundation has been laid.

“It has been my privilege to be a part of the first group to build this community,” Zitnik said in her address at commencement exercises at the school on May 16. “It is quite a significant thing to be among the first. … It’s now our time to think about what kind of legacy we want to leave. Because St. Michael is not just a building or a name. It’s a community. And a community relies on each one of its members.”

When the school opened with a freshman and sophomore class for the 2016-17 school year, principal Faustin Weber said the sophomore class began with 36 students.

It grew to 46 graduates with the help of the culture the Class of 2019 worked hard to build.

“The enduring legacy of this class will not be their resume, their accomplishments, although they’re impressive,” Weber said. “It will be the culture they created here.”

Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi also echoed the importance of the culture the graduates built.

“I thank God for you. You have been the best advertisements that a school could have,” Archbishop Rodi said. “This school has grown in large part because of your example, which made other people want to come here.”

 

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