Seton Catholic Prep seniors to mark commencement - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Seton Catholic Prep seniors to mark commencement

May 8th, 2018 development
Seton Catholic Prep seniors to mark commencement
Sports and Recreation

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor


Seton Catholic Preparatory graduating seniors soon will celebrate a milestone and gear up for promising futures during a faith-filled commencement.

Nearly 130 Seton seniors are expected to mark their graduation at the ceremony at 7 p.m. May 15 at Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St.

In his first time heading the commencement at Seton, Principal Victor Serna said he will stick with traditional proceedings historically practiced on the big night.

Seton valedictorian Bridget Hodges, 18; salutatorian Archie Spindler, 17; and graduating senior Danielle Manella, 17, will give speeches. Manella will lead students in prayer.

Seton Assistant Principal David Sorkin will announce the names of each graduate and Superintendent Harry Plummer of the Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Schools will hand out diplomas.

Commencements are not as much about “celebrating a great end to the academic year,” as they are about the “start of a lot of great opportunities for them,” Serna said.

“For me, it’s the start for them,” he said. “That’s why it’s called commencement. It’s the start of such a wonderful array of opportunities they’re going to be presented with.

“We hope, in combination with the hard work we’ve put in with their parents, in terms of forming them as young, good Catholic men and women, they will always choose right over wrong. They will learn from their mistakes but above all, try to see God’s will in all they do, see God’s grace in everything they encounter, the good and the bad and that their faith will propel them to really serve one another and serve our community, our church and our society as a whole.”

Hodges, Spindler and Manella have already shown their commitment to helping Seton and their communities in many ways.

Hodges, of Gilbert, has a weighted grade percentage of 101.1197 percent, with 100 percent being the equivalent of an A letter grade, and a grade point average of 4.0. She is co-chairwoman of The Ambassadors Club and a senior officer for the National Honor Society.

Hodges has been a varsity swimmer at Seton for all four years and she is a leader in Seton’s House program. Students in The Ambassadors Club represent the school when visitors come to campus or Seton visits organizations or community groups.

Outside Seton, Hodges was a member of the 4H Spirit of Queen Creek Horse Project and a horseback riding instructor. She has received full tuition scholarship offers from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Serna said Hodges is “overall just a great student.”

“She does some tutoring here at school,” he said. “She’s part of our Ambassadors and House leadership program. Meanwhile, she’s maintained an incredible academic resume. She’s well-deserving of the title (valedictorian). She has a friendly presence here on campus. She’s a great role model for other students.”

The valedictorian is chosen based on their weighted grade point average and is “someone who exemplifies our mission and charisms of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton,” Serna said.

Spindler, of Chandler, has a weighted grade percentage of 100.1611 percent and a grade point average of 4.0. He is captain of the varsity boys swim team and led the team to its state championship victory earlier this school year.

Serna said Spindler has been MVP for the boys swim team every year since his freshman year. Spindler is also a senior officer of the National Honor Society and he is a House leader at Seton.

Serna said Spindler is planning to go to Pomona College in Claremont, California, but also received recruiting offers with invitations to apply for admission for swimming at several other universities, including Duke, Johns Hopkins and Claremont McKenna College.

“He’s so involved in the school and in his swim,” Serna said. “He’s taken one of the most rigorous course loads of all of his classmates. He has performed at the highest level academically and athletically, and he’s all-around a great kid. He’s well-respected by his classmates and teachers.”

Manella, also of Chandler, besides heading the National Honor Society, is also president of The Solidarity Club, which Serna said “raises awareness on issues that affect human dignity of person.”

The club raises money and donations for humanitarian causes around the world. Manella also has been the goalkeeper for Seton’s girls varsity soccer team since her freshman year.

“You can often see her leading prayer services here on campus,” Serna said. “You’ll see her in our chapel attending daily Mass.”

Serna said the audience is welcome to bring cameras. He is excited to head his first commencement as Seton, where he took the reins last year.

“It’s been wonderful, so many great people here, students, parents, teachers, administrators that have welcomed my wife and I to the East Valley,” Serna said of Seton. “We couldn’t be happier with the response and the openness that people have displayed.”