Fifty-four young men and women earned their diplomas last weekend from Maur Hill-Mount Academy officially step away from high school toward their future endeavors.

President Phil Baniewicz, president and headmaster, referred to the class of 2018 as an extremely talented group representing 18 different countries and different states across the nation, who excelled both academically and athletically. The class set a school record with more than $4 million earned in scholarship awards, he said.

Baniewicz referred to national and global unrest in comparison to the 2018 MH-MA class members.

“We (faculty and staff) have witnessed these fantastic students come together and set common goals,” Baniewicz said. “They will grow up to be a light in a world of darkness.”

Baniewicz additionally offered the graduates some encouragement. “Live the faith and pursue the truth,” Baniewicz said.

Valedictorian Lauren Elizabeth Kocour addressed her classmates. Kocour, of Atchison, plans to attend the University of Nebraska and major in biology. Kocour’s list of accolades include Kansas Honors Scholars, Kansas Board of Regents Scholar, Kansas State Scholar, President’s Award for Educational Excellence and earned the Governor’s Scholar Award, President’s Award for Educational Excellence, Governor’s Scholar Award and the MH-MA Graduation Subject Award for science. Kocour was also a National Honor Society member.

Salutatorians are Haylie Noel Folsom and Megan Elizabeth Goracke, both of Atchison.

Folsom plans to attend Morningside College.

Goracke is planning to pursue biology and pre-med studies at University of Kansas.

Both salutatorians are National Honor Society members and have earned the distinctions as Kansas Honors Scholars, Kansas Board of Regents Honor Scholars and Kansas State Scholars. Each also earned the President’s Award for Educational Excellence and the Northeast Kansas League Top 5 Academic Award.

Folsom is a Wendy’s High School Heisman School winner, was awarded the MH-MA Graduation Subject Award for college English, an American Legion Citizenship Award, the Kansas ACT Scholar Award and scored to meet the criteria to earn the ACT/SAT Scholar Award.

Chairman Raymond L. “Skip” Miller Jr., MH-MA Board of Directors, served as commencement speaker. An Atchison resident member of the graduated class of 1983, Miller shared his high school experiences with the graduating class members.

Miller recalled the day when he planned for his graduation ceremony and he wondered what some old guy would say to address the class. He said he came to realize that some might consider him to be the old guy as he thought about what he would say to address his graduating audience.

Miller currently serves as the vice president of investor relations for ASML, a position held for 18 years of his 30-year career in the semiconductor industry. Miller’s daughter Haley was one of the graduates. Miller’s wife, Traci and son Canyon are also school alums.

Miller continued to share his dating experiences with his wife about prom and the continuance of their personal school experiences and dances and activities that evolved into school parents through their children. He said throughout the years he developed personal relationships with his daughter’s classmates. Miller said his dance experiences also expanded when he was taught the “dab” dance move when he escorted Haley to the annual MH-MA father and daughter dance.

Miller encouraged graduates to utilize the elemental tools they’ve been given from the Catholic-based education that MH-MA has provided them. Miller told them determination will help them learn from their mistakes and to maintain a positive attitude. He encouraged them to pray.

“Believe and have faith in God as you face new challenges,” Miller said.

He also told them determination, attitude, and believing are the elements toward a good future and encouraged them to DAB throughout their endeavors.

Mary Meyers can be reached at mary.meyers@atchisonglobenow.com.

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