Onward and upward

Saint Dominic Academy holds 137th commencement exercises

Bayonne girls Shannon Kelley and Mira Ibrahim served as co-valedictorians at St. Dominic Academy’s Class of 2015 graduation on May 3. Both were honored at the academy’s 137th commencement exercises.
Head of School Barbara Griffin presided over the event at St. Aedan’s, the Saint Peter’s University Church on Bergen Avenue. The Baccalaureate Mass was held on Tuesday, May 26 at St. Aloysius Church followed by dinner at the Casino in the Park.
The 85 members of the Class of 2015 were collectively awarded over $12.5 million in college scholarships and grant money.
Kelley, who was recognized as a Commended Student in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program, addressed those gathered at St. Aedan’s. Kelly also received the school’s English Award for having achieved the highest cumulative average in that subject. The recipient of many scholarships, she will attend Fairfield University in the fall. Kelley was involved in numerous musical events and was awarded for performing in an outstanding vocal duet in a national competition last year. She also took part in school’s first musical production.
Ibrahim, who gave a reflective speech during the graduation ceremony and received the school’s Business Award, will attend Pace University in the fall.

Originally a school for German immigrants

Sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell, the academy is located in an historic building at 2572 Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City. It is one of the oldest independent secondary schools in New Jersey.
Founded in 1878 on First Street in Jersey City, the “downtown” area which was to remain for many years a gateway for immigrants and a starting community for their life in America, the academy was founded by Dominican Sisters originally from Bavaria who came to the New York area in the 1850s to help meet the educational needs of the children of German immigrants.
The school relocated to Bergen Avenue in 1915, and then to Bentley Avenue in 1930. It moved to its present location in 1942. The school changed to focus to college electives in the mid-1980s

Graduates came from around Hudson County

At the Baccalaureate Mass the class salutatorian, Anamaria Carrasco of Union City, delivered a tear-filled address to her fellow graduates. Carrasco, the outgoing president of the Student Council, had been recognized by the National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) for scoring at or above the NHRP qualifying level.
Carrasco, who will attend Georgetown University in the fall, was also given the Spanish award.
Griffin, along with Board of Trustees chairperson Susan Mulvaney Odenthal (‘73), presented additional academic awards to the following students: French, Mariana Gomez of North Bergen; Mathematics, Brittany Angrosina of Bayonne; Religious Studies, Arianna Howard of North Bergen; Science, Alexis O’Callahan of Bayonne; Social Studies, Elizabeth Boyle of Bayonne; Physical Education, Gillian Johnson of Bayonne; and Music, Octavia Davila of West New York.
For having achieved perfect attendance for all four years of their high school education, medals were awarded to Brittany Angrosina, Lea DiPietro of Lyndhurst, Michelle Kwok of Jersey City, and Caroline Meehan of North Arlington.
SDA Class of 1994 alumna Tara McCann challenged the graduates to “run your own race with resilience and kindness.”
McCann holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s from Columbia University’s Business School. She has sixteen years of experience in the field of real estate and investment banking, working for such institutions as Deutsche Bank. Most recently, she was named Chief Strategy Officer for Stone Point, where she is responsible for strategic direction in the field of Global Real Estate. Married with two children, she dedicates her time to various charities around the globe which place an emphasis on women and children and is also dedicated to supporting women in math and science careers.
In her closing remarks, Griffin thanked and congratulated not only the graduates, but also their parents, saying “their success is yours as well.” The commencement exercises were concluded with a benediction and the academy’s “Alma Mater.”
Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

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