"Comeback Class of 2022" Celebrates Graduation
Posted on 05/26/2022
The Class of 2022: the “comeback class,” as senior class President Alexis Citro and Vice President Anne Marie Chiricolo noted in their commencement address. “Our determination to re-instill normal life and events served as a testament to who we are as a group, and it could not have been done without all your perseverance. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, because it truly made for a wonderful senior year.”

The events of St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s 49th annual commencement ceremonies conveyed the wide range of sentiments of the members of the class of 2022 and their loved ones watching in person and at home, from anticipation to apprehension to melancholy. Their journey at STA has been filled with excitement, happiness, and triumph but also unexpected setbacks and disruptions that redefined their sophomore and junior years.

“Even through the difficult and dark times, you showed an unbreakable determination to return to a full life, “observed Principal Harry Ziegler. “You seized every opportunity to reengage with each other and the community. You have astounded us with your ability to lead the school to a triumphant year and helped us reach new levels of achievement in academics, athletics, performing arts, and service.”

Throughout the many experiences that the Class of 2022 shared during the last four years, many good and some not-so-good, what will always remain true is that they were in it together. Salutatorian Vera McCoy poignantly noted that, “the fact will remain that all those stories will have taken place here, with each other. This will be the setting of the stories we’ll tell. The people sitting around us, the characters.”

And while the shared stories of the Class of 2022 ended on May 25, 2022, the individual stories of the members of that class are just beginning to be written. Valedictorian Shivali Vora shared a lesson from her Western Civilization teacher who, at the beginning of their STA journey during freshman year claimed that they were at the dawn of the best eight years of our lives. “Well, we’re at midday now,” Vora observed. During this time “we have discovered and embraced unexpected things about ourselves, taken chances, matured, persevered, […] developed confidence and humility, self-assuredness, selflessness, and learned to take better care of ourselves and others.” Now it is time for the Class of 2022 to go out into the world and continue their stories in college, careers, service, everyday life, and beyond.

The Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Ceremony, held at the Church of the Sacred Heart in South Plainfield, marked the culmination of a four-year long journey that was interlaced with memories both big and small, unforgettable events, new friendships, triumphs on the fields and stage, and an education that will form the groundwork for future greatness. The ceremonies were punctuated with the retelling of the stories and memories that were created by a group of once-strangers but who are now and will always be members of a family. Service trips to TASK, dancing to “September” at every dance, moments of inspiration in class, eating a Roche cookie for the first time, being cast in the dream role in a show, making varsity... The stories resonated with each member of the class in attendance.
There were also the gentle reminders of the people who helped each member of the Class of 2022 arrive at where they are now: parents, relatives, teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, friends, and God. “Remember what you learned here, not just from your classes but also in regard to your faith,” reminded the Most Revered Bishop James F. Checchio of the Diocese of Metuchen. “We know that the one thing that stayed constant throughout this time was certainly our savior. He never changes and always reaches out to us in love and mercy.”

With a turn of the tassel, the members of the St. Thomas Aquinas High School Class of 2022 went out into the world to love and to serve. As Director of Catholic Identity Father Keith Cervine challenged the graduates in his homily: “Commencement is about beginnings. Just like the apostles prepared themselves for a new time after Jesus’s ascension, you too are going out into the world to reinvent yourselves.”

Baccalaureate Mass 2022

St. Thomas Aquinas High School is tremendously proud of the Class of 2022, its accomplishments, its perseverance, and its unique mark that it has left on the school. 97% of the members of the class will go directly to one of 74 different universities in 18 different states while putting to use over $29 million in scholarships. Others will serve in the military or enter trade schools. All will begin with a “clean slate,” a reminder that President Sr. Donna Marie Trukowski would give at the beginning and end of each school year. They’ll begin anew, using the knowledge and skills that they’ve gained over these past four years to build a City of God. Congratulations to the Class of 2022!

Graduation Class of 2022