Mount St. Dominic Graduates 5 From Verona

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The Athletic Center at Mount St. Dominic Academy was packed on Sunday, June 2, when 60 young women who have called the Mount home graduated. It was a beautiful ceremony, with Vincia Jackson, MSDA Class of 2010, as the commencement speaker.

The graduating class included five young women from Verona and six from Cedar Grove, pictured above: (back row, from left) Carinna Menjivar (Cedar Grove), Molly Hipp (Verona), Helen Stanisci (Verona), Evelyn Finn (Verona), and Eliza Haghighi (Cedar Grove); (front row, from left) Giuliana DeSilva (Verona), Gianna Murray (Cedar Grove), Rebecca Hess (Cedar Grove), Kimlani Tanella (Cedar Grove), Sarah Tortoriello (Verona), and Samantha Pontoriero (Cedar Grove).

Class Salutatorian Adrianna Cacciacarne of Randolph opened the graduation ceremony at Mount Saint Dominic Academy with a prayer, expressing gratitude for the journey, knowledge, friendships, and memories formed over the past four years. She prayed for guidance in future endeavors and emphasized the importance of Dominican values learned at the academy. She acknowledged the significant influence of family, teachers, and mentors, thanking them for their support and inspiration. She encouraged the graduates to pursue excellence, carry their dedication forward, and be positive forces in the world. The prayer concluded with a blessing for bright futures and a call for God’s continued guidance and light.

Reflecting on her experiences at the Mount, Jackson shared how they have profoundly shaped her life. Her message to the graduates was clear and powerful: “Keep the main thing the main thing,” a personal mantra encouraging focus and grounding in what truly matters—your goals and dreams. She urged the graduates to be the one voice that asks the questions everyone else is too afraid to voice, to embrace uncertainty, and to stand firm in advocating for respect.

Jackson emphasized the importance of intentionally seeking out diverse perspectives and embracing the beauty of diversity while cherishing the bonds with those who share your background. She urged the graduates to create their own opportunities, reminding them that success is personal and unique to each individual. “Don’t compare yourself to others. Engineer the life you desire and remember who you are. The future is truly yours,” she declared.

MSDA Valedictorian Erin Arenata of West Orange delivered a heartfelt graduation speech emphasizing the importance of memories and connections made throughout her high school journey. She shared how sentimental keepsakes in a senior year memories box she created symbolized cherished moments and relationships, particularly with the “little sister” she was assigned to as a junior. She reflected on the growth and resilience of the class, highlighting shared experiences from volleyball games to musical performances and retreats. Concluding with gratitude and pride, she celebrated the bonds formed and expressed excitement for the future impacts her classmates will make as alumnae.

With a curriculum that sparks curiosity, bridging tradition with academic rigor and faith with intellectual exploration, the young women of the Mount build a foundation of independent inquiry and critical thinking that serves them well in college, career, and beyond. Boasting a 100% college acceptance rate at leading colleges and universities, Mount St. Dominic Academy’s Class of 2024 has earned a collective $13+ million in college scholarships and grants, and acceptance into 119 colleges. Mount graduates are empowered young women – justice seekers, changemakers, and empathetic leaders, with the skills needed to make the world a better place, along with the desire to do so.

Photo: Pushparaj Aitwal

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