Memorable Moments

8th Grade Graduates Share Reflections Related To Faith, Service And Learning

Natalia Benitez – St. Gabriel School
As a kindergartener I was very shy, I didn’t like talking to people and everything made me nervous. One day a girl came up to me and started talking to me. I never had many interactions with other kids, so this made me happy. She then asked if we could be friends, and I said yes. Kindergarten went by and we were still best buddies. We have played together, studied together and grown up together all nine years of Catholic school. And this year we are graduating together and look forward to going to high school together. That’s my favorite thing about Catholic school, everyone’s so close, you build real friendships, and everyone, even your teachers, is your family.

Emma Kichler – Sacred Heart Model School
Sacred Heart Model School has been my home of opportunities — opportunities that pushed me to be the best student, friend, and person I can be. One of the most memorable moments was the Hand in Hand mission trip to Appalachia. It is amazing that we could have so much fun while working. We built a ramp for a disabled resident to use at his home. Then, that night we played basketball with students from another school. This is memorable because they did not know us and we did not know them, but we had a great time building community. I will be forever grateful that SHMS gave me opportunities to build confidence in myself and to go for more things in life.

Maria Diaz Garcia – St. Rita School
During my three years at St. Rita, I’ve had many memorable moments. My favorite, out of the many, is when the cheer team was able to perform at the Pep Rally. We prepared a dance number and a cheer that we then presented to the school. It was a concise performance, but it meant a lot that I was able to share what I had been working on with my classmates and my school. Many of the girls came together throughout our practice time and I made many amazing friends from it. The Pep Rally was moving because of how all the girls worked together to make it the best it could be.

Ashton Taylor – Holy Trinity School Clifton
One memorable moment that I had at Holy Trinity Clifton was when I enrolled here from a different school. When I came to Holy Trinity, I knew all the teachers would be great! My second year at Holy Trinity Clifton, I was trying super hard to get straight A’s. Once I took my time and really bought into learning, everything started to become easier. When the second trimester finished, I was so proud to receive an honor roll certificate. I never thought I would receive this because at my previous school, it was really hard for me. Holy Trinity Clifton has been a life changer for me and many of the students that go here. I am so very thankful for this school.

Marielle Bland – St. Agnes School
Though I’m sad to leave, I am thankful for everything St. Agnes taught me. More than anything, I’ll miss the people I met here, which is why my favorite St. Agnes memory is not just one moment but many. It’s our class’ tradition to sing each other happy birthday at lunch, and even if it seems simple, it has always reminded me that, though we are growing apart, our St. Agnes class will always support each other. I’m so proud to have been part of the St. Agnes community and am eternally grateful for everything I learned here.

Josephine Eberenz – Holy Angels Academy
When I first came to Holy Angels, I was often insecure and nervous. A month or two into the school year, at one Mass in particular, the sense of my new school and my spiritual journey was changed. After holy Communion, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in a monstrance and then a procession began, led by a priest. We eventually exited the building. Everyone shivered in the bitter cold outside. Though it was very cold, I was moved by this procession. It was amazing to be able to follow Jesus so literally, and it was comforting to know I was not alone in this journey. I was sincerely glad to be part of this school that would help me follow Jesus always. Since then, I have been grateful to be a student at Holy Angels Academy.

Riley Britz – Notre Dame Academy
My eighth-grade year has been challenging, but it has also been full of wonderful memories and experiences that I will never forget. Making the sacrament of Confirmation was a major landmark in the journey of my eighth-grade year. Confirmation has led me to become more appreciative of my opportunity to be a student at this school. Throughout the Confirmation process, we worked in school and outside of school, to prepare for the sacrament. I am grateful that I am able to go to school and learn about my religion, while also being an active participant in my faith.

Elli Keely-Fine – St. Francis of Assisi School
At St. Francis of Assisi, we learn how to be kind to everyone no matter who they are. For the past nine to 10 months, I have been serving those who are in need of the most kindness and the most love — our unhoused brothers and sisters. I have become friends with many of them and have become a better person because I know them. I even began learning American Sign Language (ASL) in order to try to communicate with a woman who is deaf. This experience has taught me that kindness and compassion are very powerful assets.

Jaelyn Williams-Durbin – St. Andrew Academy
At Saint Andrew Academy, we value working together and building friendships. The class of 2024 came together and mutually decided our favorite memory was playing Four Square daily. We play Four Square in the mornings before school starts and during recess every day. Playing Four Square helps students build communication and team bonding skills. Having these skills will be useful as we grow because as you get older you will have to work together and communicate with people in your everyday life. I feel like we all come closer as a class when we bond by playing Four Square.

Morgan Skorupa – St. Patrick School
Trying to find one memorable moment from my time at St. Patrick is nearly impossible. Being a Celtic at St. Patrick is much more than just being a student. It is a sense of belonging, a sense of community, and a sense of service. We experience a shared sense of belonging to our faith as Catholics and how we celebrate the Eucharist at school Mass. Like a family, we celebrate each other’s victories and support each other through challenges. Service opportunities like the soup kitchen teach us the importance of giving back as Catholics. Every moment here has been a memorable one.

Delaney Kolb- St. Aloysius School
My most memorable moment from St. Aloysius was when all the eighth-grade girls went to Appalachia to help people in need. I think we all needed this trip in different ways. For me, this trip was about bonding. I formed relationships with girls I’d never really talked to outside of group projects. Now, I have more friends than I’ve had my whole life. I’ve always stuck with the same small group, but this trip has helped me take risks and gain confidence to communicate and work with other people. This trip was also incredibly eye-opening, exposing me to the way people live. I never truly knew what it was like to be in those conditions or how good I have it.

Sharon Zheng – St. Nicholas Academy
One of the most precious moments I experienced during my time at St. Nicholas Academy was on one of our recent eighth-grade field trips, where we visited St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. I was impressed by the detailed mosaics and the breathtaking stained glass windows. I was also deeply moved by the definite presence of God and the representation of the history of the Church in this cathedral. As I stood in awe of the remarkable Gothic architecture, I realized how fortunate and grateful I was to be an SNA student.

Lydia Ashley – St. Paul School
I have been at St. Paul School for 11 years, beginning in 3-year old preschool. In that time I have met a lot of people who have deeply impacted my life, from teachers, staff and other parish members. I believe this faith community has helped me become a stronger individual in my everyday life. One example is Mrs. Ford, my music teacher, choir director, ukulele teacher and friend. Since 3rd grade she has been encouraging me to sing in front of people, either at concerts or cantoring at mass. This culminated with the two of us singing a duet in this year’s spring concert, which was a very special moment that I will always remember. The skills and confidence that I learned at St. Paul are something I will carry forward into my high school career and life.

Maddie Blakely – Holy Spirit School
My memorable moment at Holy Spirit is not about my academics. I feel my friends and this amazing community have played the biggest role in my life. I am not the most athletic or academically accomplished in my graduating class, but I do consider myself very accomplished not only because of my academic accomplishments but because of the friends I have made. This community helped me to develop my faith and learning more than I ever could have imagined. Since I was six years old, and the community has become one of the major components of my character development. I will forever remember the friends I made and the community that supported me at Holy Spirit School.

Kaitlyn Clements – John Paul II Academy
Nearly all my life, from PreK to 8th grade, I have attended John Paul II Academy. This small but special school has always been an honor to attend. At John Paul II, I have both close friends and caring teachers. Another important feature of my school is the diversity. I have learned so much in my 10 years, but the things I treasure the most are leading prayer services, Shadow Stations, school Masses, and lastly doing broadcasts in the morning and the announcements at the end of the day. John Paul II Academy will be a place I’ll never forget and always treasure.

Emma Cronen – Our Lady of Lourdes School
As I think back on all of my wonderful years at Our Lady of Lourdes, my most memorable moment was on my immersion trip to Appalachia Kentucky to work with Hand in Hand Ministries. The feeling of being with my classmates and giving back to the community in such a hands-on way left a big impression on me. The school, teachers and community at Our Lady of Lourdes has helped to shape my faith. I am encouraged and inspired to continue my faith journey in high school. Our Lady of Lourdes community is truly something special!

Peyton Hamilton – St. Mary Academy
My favorite memory of being in school at St. Mary Academy these past years is the sacrament of Confirmation. This year I was able to grow in my faith by receiving this sacrament and it has allowed me to realize truly what I am as a Catholic. It has shown me the way to God and the way to love and serve others how God wants all of us to be treated. I made so many great memories with people as I was initiated into the Church and being able to grow mentally and faithfully as an individual for the rest of my life has truly impacted me.

Maggie Bautista – St. Albert School
I haven’t been at Saint Albert for very long, but many experiences have stood out to me that made me appreciate my Catholic education. For Confirmation, our class had a retreat about our understanding of the sacrament itself. The theme was the Wizard of Oz, which was used very well to explain the deep meaning of being confirmed. During the retreat, we all had this sense of togetherness that connected us. I believe this retreat gave a great representation of what it means to be a Saint Albert student. A community of understanding, unity, and strong faith.

Callie Peak – St. James School – Elizabethtown
One of my favorite memories from St. James is the Women of God Retreat. During this retreat, I was able to grow closer to my fellow girl classmates through prayer and talk. We had lots of fun listening and singing along to worship songs that allowed us to have special time with God and Jesus. I was also able to participate in Adoration with my friends, their moms, and my mom. This retreat was a lot of fun for me, and I am so glad that I got to be a part of this great place, St. James.

Zander Vlahos – St. Margaret Mary School
During my time at St. Margaret Mary I have had many memorable experiences contributing to my faith. The most memorable would have to be my Confirmation. My Confirmation was March 16th and the months before that I spent in preparation for Confirmation are what I think brought me closer to God. In those few months my family, my sponsor, Fr. Dustin Hungerford and I did many different acts of service and prayer. I feel like the time I had spent in prayer and through acts of service helped me grow as a person in my Catholic faith.

Grace Waterson – St. Martha School
Memories are like permanent bracelets, always with us. One memory that will always stay with me is from 7th grade when our class reenacted Jesus walking into Jerusalem and celebrating The Last Supper. Some of us were narrators, some portrayed the disciples, and others cheered from the pews, shouting “Hosanna’’ and clapping. We worked together to ensure that everything went flawlessly as we recreated an important moment in our faith. St. Martha has taught me the value of having a strong community that I’m able to celebrate my faith with and rely on for support no matter what.

Hannah DeGrella – St. Raphael the Archangel School
90% chance of rain on a day dedicated to spending time with God outside didn’t seem like the best day, it turned into the most memorable moment St. Raphael has given me. Going on my 8th-grade retreat, and the memories that I created during all the previous ones, is something that I will never forget. It is crazy to think that the time that I gave to God was also the root of the connections that I will forever cherish and look back on. Walking into that same school building changed my perspective on all of my classmates. These moments will stay with me beyond the walls of Mount St. Francis and St. Raphael. I am so thankful for that 90% chance of rain and the memories that it gave my friends and me.

Noelle Ising – Ascension School
One of the things I will always remember about Ascension is the community. This generous group of people has given me so many memories that I will carry through high school. Some of my favorite memories are field days, where we come together as a school and have friendly competitions, the Passion Play, where the 8th grade was able be faith leaders for the younger students, and lastly, summer festivals, where students get to celebrate the end of the school year. A major part of our community is the teachers, whom I’d like to thank for providing me with both education and guidance. I feel so lucky to have been part of the Ascension community.

Olivia Duffy – Holy Trinity School St. Matthews
Helping people is something that can really show “a little goes a long way.” My class and I went to Appalachia on a service trip. This went a long way. We helped many families in rough living conditions in some of the smallest ways. It made me realize how big an impact small deeds can have. Helping a family with their drywall, getting under the house to deal with sewer lines, even just helping build sawhorses or painting a wall, families appreciate us, the families “thank you” and “you don’t know how much this helped!” This made us all feel really good about ourselves and made us want to help more people in the future.

Cali Miller – St. Bernard School
Being a new student for my 8th grade year and my first year in a Catholic School, my experience is very different from many of my classmates. The first day at school, everyone was welcoming and it felt like I had been a student here for years. Going to mass every Wednesday has made an impact on my life. I’ve gotten closer with God and have realized the importance of establishing a relationship with Him at a young age. I’m thankful for St. Bernard because I know my experiences here will help me transition into high school.

Stella Jones – St. Edward School
One of my favorite things about St. Edward is that we feel like a family. There are only 11 girls in 8th grade. We are so close that I feel that they are like sisters. Our community is amazing and I feel so at home. The teachers help make it amazing by building relationships with the students and really caring and wanting to have fun with the students. One of my favorite memories was retreat. We worked together, helped each other, and got to know each other. St. Edward will be forever in my heart and always be a second home.

Mattie Higgins St. Athanasius School
I have learned a lot throughout my years at St. Athanasius. I have learned about the sacraments and have learned the importance of helping others individually and as a community. I appreciate that I go to a smaller school with smaller class sizes because there is more 1 on 1 time with teachers and students. The teachers are always here to help me and St. Athanasius has helped to make me a leader among my friends and has given me the confidence I need going to DeSales next year. At St. Athanasius all of the different activities offered helped us to grow in more ways than just classroom learning.

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