Published June 1, 2006
The first alumni of Holy Spirit Preparatory School have left the building.
They’ve also left a legacy.
On May 19, 22 students—Holy Spirit’s first senior class—graduated, in a ceremony held at Holy Spirit Church. Holy Spirit Prep’s upper school campus was opened in 2004.
The strains of the familiar yet inspiring “Pomp and Circumstance” echoed throughout the church as the class of 2006 processed into Holy Spirit, its pews filled with family members, friends and HSP underclassmen.
Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue presided at the ceremony, along with Holy Spirit Church pastor Msgr. Edward Dillon and parochial vicar Father Ricardo Bailey.
Father Paul Moreau, LC, chaplain of HSP, offered the opening prayer, followed by salutatorian Andres Guzman, who addressed his fellow classmates.
Calling graduation an event of “tremendous importance, not only to us but to the entire school community,” Guzman said leaving the school produced a “conflict of emotions.”
“We are joyful, fearful and even sorrowful,” he said. The HSP community “has become sort of a second family for us.”
“We have grown and matured thanks to the loving guidance of our teachers and parents,” he said. “And we’ve had the opportunity to lay a foundation of which I hope the underclassmen will continue.”
Frank Hanna, a member of the HSP board of trustees and a major financial contributor to the school, said that the graduation held special significance for him.
“I am filled with joy today. The planning for this day began over 15 years ago,” Hanna said, recalling a meeting with then Archbishop Eugene Marino about opening a school in North Atlanta. “I can’t express to you in words how good it is to see it happen.”
Hanna addressed the graduates and said it was his “fervent hope that you have learned a little bit about yourselves while you were here and that you have gotten a glimpse of your transcendent vocation.”
Hanna then introduced the commencement speaker, Judge William H. Pryor, of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Pryor, a devoted Catholic, spoke to the HSP graduates and their families and said that this commencement was about more than just academic successes.
“This is a celebration of Jesus Christ,” he said, and the reason the school exists.
He encouraged the students to “go forth and show that your Catholic education has made a difference in your life.”
“Go show the world, by the way you love God and love others, that you are graduates of Holy Spirit Prep,” he said. “Go show the world by your faith, your character and your love that you are Christians.”
The Catholic Church is not an “unthinking church,” he said, but instead “God expects us to use our intelligence that he gave us.”
“You have marvelous challenges ahead, and you have an education that has prepared you for that,” he said. “Go forth and answer the call of Christ.”
The students were then awarded their diplomas, along with academic honors for nearly every student in the class.
Christopher Dale, valedictorian for the class of 2006, addressed his fellow students, giving high praise to the faculty at HSP.
In an interview, Dale, who will attend Georgia Tech next year, said he is grateful for his HSP education.
“It’s been a good challenge, and I think our whole class is all the better for it,” he said. “This is a bittersweet day. We are a close group, so it’s hard to leave each other. But at the same time, (HSP) has really prepared us for college.”
Daniel DiLuzio said that he was excited about graduation but that he has appreciated his years at HSP.
“The atmosphere here has been great,” he said. “I really think I’m prepared for college.”
Graduate Natasha Lindenau said that graduating was a “big step.”
“It’s exciting, it’s new. We’re all so close here, it’s like a family,” she said. “Especially this senior class—we’re like a big family that has grown together.”