Danbury, CT – One of its largest graduating classes triumphantly tossed their caps into the air when Immaculate High School graduated 120 seniors at their Commencement Ceremony held on Wednesday, June 6 at Western Connecticut State University’s O’Neill Center in Danbury, CT.
Kevin McCoy of Danbury was Valedictorian and Nicole Palmieri of Sandy Hook was Salutatorian. Of the 120 members of the Class of 2018, all were accepted to colleges and universities and 90% were awarded college scholarships and grants totaling $20million. The top ten percent of students achieved a SAT score average of 1309, and nearly three-quarters of the class earned an average GPA of 3.5 or higher.
President Mary Maloney presided over the Commencement Ceremony. In speaking to the graduates, she told students to keep their dreams big and worries small, remain flexible and transform challenges into positive change. “Continue to rely on your faith and live it daily; it will help you believe in what you cannot see and see what you believe. Take your vision and make it alive. If you believe that you can, it will happen,” she told the graduates.
Mayor Mark Boughton addressed the graduates and imparted his personal experiences on how his faith has helped him through some challenging moments and why students should rely on their faith. In addition to conferring their diplomas, the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Cheeseman encouraged students to carry Christ into the world by sharing the unconditional love of God, a love that is sacrificial like that of Christ. “Let that love be reflected in your actions just like you have done these past four years in your service trips, your ministry activities and your many hours of service to the local community,” he said.
“In my visits and in my conversations with or about students I have always been so impressed at how Immaculate has helped them grow as students and as people. I know that as these graduates walk out of this building tonight they have not only achieved academic success but also that they have become better people because of their time here and because of the interactions they have had with their dedicated teachers, coaches, club moderators and administrators,” Dr. Cheeseman said.
“The accomplishments of the Class of 2018 are outstanding, and have made an impressive impact upon our school community. During their past four years of studies at Immaculate High School, our graduating seniors have developed and demonstrated impressive academic, athletic, social justice and leadership skills recognized by the universities they will attend,” said Dr. Patrick D. Higgins, IHS Principal. ”I am confident that our graduates will continue to experience much success in college and beyond. As Principal of Immaculate High School, I wish to extend my heartiest congratulations to our graduates and their families,” he said. In praising the valedictorian and salutatorian, Dr. Higgins noted that “in every way, Kevin is an outstanding leader of the Immaculate High School Class of 2018 who was dedicated to his studies, and Nicole is a superb student leader who excels academically, is self-motivated and has served as a peer role model.”
Valedictorian Kevin McCoy will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology where he will major in Biomedical Engineering. Kevin has received the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal Award for outstanding achievement in the study of mathematics and science, the Presidential Volunteer Service Bronze Award for exceeding 100 hours of community service in one school year, and was a Connecticut Governor’s Scholar Semi-Finalist. Kevin was also a National Merit Scholarship Corporation Commended Student, an AP Scholar with Honors and a member of the National Honor Society. He was chosen for the Boehringer Ingelheim and Duracell Partners in Science and the University of Pennsylvania Biomedical Research Academy. Kevin is currently completing his coursework to become an EMT in Connecticut. His IHS activities included serving as a Student Council Environmental Advocate, Fall Drama and Spring Musical Stage Manager, Brain Trust President, History Quiz Bowl Club Team Captain and CyberPatriot Team Captain. Kevin also was a member of the IHS Debate Club, the Student Council Executive Board, the Mock Trial Team, the Key Club, the School Newspaper, the Math Club, Campus Ministry and was a Student Ambassador and math tutor.
Salutatorian Nicole Palmieri will attend Christopher Newport University where she will major in History and minor in Leadership Studies and U.S. National Security Studies as a Presidential Scholar in the President’s Leadership Program and in the Honors Program. While at IHS, Nicole was a National Merit Scholarship Commended Student, a member of the National Honor Society and an AP Scholar and received the Presidential Service Award, the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award (in recognition of outstanding commitment to social justice), a HALO Nomination for Scenic Design and the APEX International Education Partners Family Global Citizens Scholarship Award. She participated in many school activities including the the IHS International Club, the Drama Scenery Crew, and the History Quiz Bowl, Mock Trial, Model UN and Debate Teams.
Completing the top ten graduating senior list are Katherine Cassetta of Sandy Hook (Salve Regina University, English), Sean Connolly of Danbury (University of Scranton, Business/Engineering), James Fahey of Danbury (Trinity College, Biomedical Engineering), Matthew Giorgio of Ridgefield (University of Connecticut, Engineering), Jack Guiry of Danbury (Holy Cross, Biochemistry and Mathematics), Marina Kolitsas of Woodbury (Manhattanville College, Musical Theatre), Jacqueline Elizabeth Maker of Newtown (Fordham University, Business/Finance) and John Palladino of Danbury (Franciscan University, Engineering).
In addition, Connor McNerney of Sandy Hook was named Immaculate High School’s Student of the Year for the 2017-18 school year. Connor earned this honor for consistently demonstrating school spirit and dedication to IHS, strength of character and faith in action through kindness to others, and a passion for learning and going beyond what is expected, including encouraging others to do their best.
This graduating class contributed over 6,837 hours to a school-wide total of 27,794 hours of community service and several students were honored by the United Way, the Danbury Exchange Club and the Danbury Rotary Club for their service. Student-athletes received numerous individual athletic SWC and CIAC leadership and sportsmanship recognitions and several teams won SWC and State Championships. Students were honored with academic, music and art awards, including Commendations from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, Connecticut High School Fine Arts Awards, Halo Awards and more. Other seniors were part of the Cyber Patriots and Mock Trial teams that won major competitions.
Immaculate High School is a private, non-profit Catholic college-preparatory institution serving students from 28 communities in Connecticut and New York. Founded in 1962, Immaculate High School also allows students to focus on academic excellence spiritual development, service to others and personal goals. Located in Danbury, CT, Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s parochial school system.