More than 250 SJC graduates joined hundreds of their family and friends at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday for SJC Brooklyn’s 98th commencement ceremony.
The Class of 2017 was encouraged to “create a destiny of goodness and hope” by College President Jack P. Calareso, Ph.D. “Live the life you were educated to live,” he said. “Let the fire within you burn bright. Burn strong.”
Live the life you were educated to live. Let the fire within you burn bright. Burn strong.” — SJC President Jack P. Calareso, Ph.D.
Sharing the commencement stage with President Calareso was graduate speaker Mary Edward ’17, who spoke of her personal passion to become a teacher. Edward instructed her classmates to “take your passions, wherever they lie, and use them to connect to other people.”
It was those themes of family and connection that brought together countless commencement stories. SJC is known for its family relationships, such as the strong ties between alumni and students, and the personal nurturing of every student by dedicated faculty.
For families such as the Dineens from nearby Park Slope, St. Joseph’s College wasn’t simply a college, but a legacy. Mary Anne Dineen of the Class of 1986 was honored to hood her daughter, Julia — a speech communications major.
“I just knew (St. Joseph’s) was a good fit for her,” Dineen said. “(Julia) brought so much to it and got so much out of it. (She) knew this was the right place for her having (her) own experience.”
Meanwhile, for the Caicado family of Jackson Heights, it was the common theme of education that connected generation to generation.
“He followed in my footsteps,” said proud mother and teacher Jessica Caicado of her son, Kevin — a child study grad of the Class of 2017. “He’s always been dedicated.”
“Though I’d never want to teach in the same school,” Kevin Caicado added with a wry smile.
“We need our own space!” his mother agreed.
Others were brought together by a common thread, such as the Stanoleviches of Queens.
“I’m graduating with a degree in speech and psychology,” said Christine Stanolevich. Her mother, Cecilia, a physical therapist, once believed her daughter would join her in the profession.
“I wanted her to go into PT, but she chose speech and i’m very proud of her. We’re a therapy family,” said Cecilia Stanolevich, whose husband, John, is a clinical social worker.
As families came together to celebrate the culmination of their graduates’ hard work, it was the commencement ceremony’s closing words from President Calareso that called them to action:
“Today is your call to active citizenship,” said Dr. Calareso,” Go and make your mark in the world, and on the world.”