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AMC President Calareso tells grads to ‘be the fire for change’

Posted By May 23, 2013 | 12:35 pm | Lead Story #2
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By Mairgread Gray
CFP Correspondent

Last Saturday dawned clear and bright for the 64th commencement exercises of Anna Maria College in Paxton.  The graduates, their families and friends were exhilarated, but a bit subdued over the news they received the day before – that the commencement speaker, retired Bishop Remi J. De Roo, had fractured his hip and shoulder and would not be at the exercises.
Melody R. Milner, North Brookfield, walked from the Worcester Public Library’s parking lot to the Hanover Theatre with her husband, Justin, and her mother, Valerie Bernier, for the graduation exercises.  She said she was getting her master’s degree in business administration and that she also did her undergraduate degree at AMC about 10 years ago.  Mrs. Milner is the assistant director of financial aid at Anna Maria College.  She belongs to St. John the Baptist Parish in East Brookfield.
Amanda Kershaw of Granby was the undergraduate student speaker.  She traced her college journey from freshman through her senior year, sharing what she had learned about life.          “Strength comes not from what you have, but what you give,” she said.  She challenged her fellow students: “Do not be complacent with this world; advocate for those less fortunate.”
Ms. Kershaw held up as an example Jonathan Kozol, the Harvard graduate who began his career  helping disadvantaged students in Boston schools.  He was someone to learn from, and to emulate, she said.
“In a few hours you will make strides with pride, grace and purpose,” she said.
College President Jack P. Calareso and Sister Yvette E. Bellerose, a Sister of Saint Anne and chair of the board of trustees, conferred two honorary degrees.
Sister Joyce Anne Snyder was awarded an honorary doctor of human service degree. A member of Anna Maria’s founding congregation, the Sisters of St. Anne, she entered the novitiate in 1959 and graduated from Anna Maria College in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in music. She was honored for her 50-year commitment to the poor and disenfranchised in the world. Sister Joyce was called a woman of “lively faith” and a “Renaissance woman.  She is a dedicated teacher and a talented musician. She is an inspirational spiritual guide.”
Bishop De Roo, who was unable to be present because of his injuries in an accident, received an honorary doctor of sacred theology degree. His picture was projected on a screen at the back of the stage where the faculty was seated.  Ordained Bishop of Victoria, British Columbia in 1962, he was summoned to Rome by Pope John XXIII, to participate in the Second Vatican Council.  Bishop De Roo’s ministry and pastoral leadership have served the Sisters of Saint Anne in both Canada and the United States. He retired in 1999 as Bishop of Victoria, and continues to share his experiences of Vatican II.  He was lauded for his commitment to justice and the common good.
Since Bishop De Roo could not attend, President Calareso read two brief excerpts from his speech.  “His address is eloquent,” he said.
He continued with Bishop De Roo’s excerpts: “Life is a constant venture of learning.  Love tenderly. Faith thrives in community – there is mutual interdependence.You are a unique person with a destiny.
“Embrace life.  Live it to the full – your wonderful, real self.  Hold your head high. Embrace your vision now, and stay the course.”                                                                                                                                                 When it was time for the conferring of degrees, it was done with much cheering and shout-outs from the audience.
The Bishop Timothy J. Harrington Award, established in 1988, and given to a senior judged to have demonstrated compassionate service in the promotion of peace and justice, was awarded to Sean Aubrey Mensah of Silver Spring, Maryland.
The Dr. Bernadette Madore Award for Academic Excellence is given to a senior who earned the highest cumulative grade point average in a minimum of 90 semester hours.  This award was established by the faculty and staff of Anna Maria College to commemorate Dr. Madore’s 25 years of distinguished service as dean of the college.  Recipient of this award was Adrienne Ann Gadoua of Lancaster.
President Calareso had some final words for the graduates.  He noted, with a nod to Ms. Kershaw, that Jonathan Kozol had prompted him to go into education after reading his book.
“Do at least one good thing for someone else every single day! Be the fire for change.  Show your love in everything you do and do it every day,” he told the graduates.