Saint Basil Academy Graduates Final Class (1931 – 2021)
Jenkintown, PA – The June 3, 2021 final Baccalaureate Liturgy in the almost ninety-year history of Saint Basil Academy, located in Jenkintown, PA and owned by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Basil the Great, was a beautiful Celebration of Thanks for Gifts received, with the Most Reverend Archbishop Metropolitan Borys Gudziak as the main celebrant. Concelebrating were the chaplain for the school and the Basilian community Rev. John Ciurpita, Rev. Ihor Bloshchynskyy, father of graduate Anastasiya Bloshchynska, Rev. Joseph Campellone, OSFS, and guest priests and deacons from Ukraine. His Excellency Metropolitan Borys was greeted with the traditional Ukrainian bread and salt by Anastasiya Bloshchynska and Student Council President Maria Abraham. The Metropolitan’s words to the graduating class left them understanding the extent to which our Lord God wants them to keep Him in their lives as they start their new journey.
The Baccalaureate Liturgy was followed by the Senior Awards ceremony, which celebrated academic achievements, athletic accomplishments, and club/organization recognitions. Two special awards were presented to students chosen by the faculty for their exceptional devotion to school and community – Tia Taylor and Maggie Junkin. Anastasiya Bloshchynska and Madeline Zetick were recognized for their participation in Ukrainian Society-sponsored events.
Saturday, June 5, followed with an outdoor Graduation ceremony on the grounds of the Academy. With the school building as the backdrop for the commencement, the excitement of the culmination of four years of challenging academics, exciting athletic achievements, musical, artistic, and dramatic performances, and Christian service projects, along with special social events, underscored the reality of this as the last graduation.
The opening welcome by principal Connie D’Angelo stressed to the graduates and guests our appreciation for the ability to come together for this celebration after a challenging length of time due to the pandemic. Father John Ciurpita and Father Joseph Campellone’s opening prayers of gratitude for all the Blessings and Grace that have brought the school community to the culmination of their high school years, and for strength and guidance in further endeavors, centered the frame of mind for the graduation ceremony.
The Valedictory Address by Jennifer Mayro and Salutatory Address by Jamie Barbara were both directed specifically to their classmates. The speakers, the two highest-achieving seniors, spoke of the bonds formed, of the path taken by all as they came into St. Basil’s as shy freshmen and gradually found new talents and abilities as they made their way through challenging classes, school activities, and service opportunities.
The conferring of diplomas by principal Connie D’Angelo and assistant principal Lesia Penkalskyj revealed the strength of mutual support among the graduates, and the joy they felt in each other’s achievements. Final recognitions were the certificate of completion of SBA Music Academy courses presented to Anastasiya Bloshchynska, and the St. Macrina award for the student elected by faculty representing strength of spiritual character presented to Carie Fiedler.
The final official words were extended by Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski, OSBM, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great. Understanding the sadness that was interwoven with the celebratory spirit, Sister Dorothy Ann reminded us of the first days of the coming of the Sisters to their new land, and the love that they put into the growth and running of the school throughout its history. The students who have passed through the doors of Saint Basil Academy have gone out and made their mark in the world through their families, careers, and parish and community lives. Sister Dorothy Ann reminded the graduates that their bonds and sisterhood will continue to thrive despite the closing of the Academy’s doors.
And so, with a final prayer offered by Student Council President Maria Abraham, with the resonant singing of the Alma Mater, the final class of Saint Basil Academy went out into the world.
Photo by Paulina Jalon