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Marking a milestone: St. Peter in Ashton's 150th graduation Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jun. 16, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

St. Peter, Ashton, 150th Graduation

The 2016 graduating class of St. Peter School in Ashton stands for a group photo after their graduation ceremony June 2 at St. Peter Church in Ashton. Here the fifth grade graduates are pictured with their teacher Sarah Spielbauer, Pastor Fr. Tait Schroeder, and Principal Kathi Klaas. This year’s class was the 150th group of graduates in the school’s history. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

ASHTON -- It was a day to celebrate the past, present, and future.

The 2016 graduating class of St. Peter School in Ashton was the 150th in the school's history.

The eight fifth-graders finished the journey at one school with eyes on what lies ahead.

Mass and commencement

The graduation Mass and commencement exercises took place on June 2 at St. Peter Church in Ashton.

The class theme was, "There is always light in your heart." The class colors were blue and red. The class flower was a rose.

"We come here tonight to celebrate a very special evening of graduation for our fifth-graders," said Pastor Fr. Tait Schroeder as Mass began. "We accompany you with our prayers in a special way tonight."

Asking for the intercession of the patron of the parish and school, Father Schroeder said a votive Mass of St. Peter.

The graduating students participated in the Mass.

They read the readings and intercessions, brought up the Offertory gifts, and even designed the front and back cover of the program for the evening.

Most important things learned

During his homily, Father Schroeder told the graduates there were two things he hoped they learned from their time at St. Peter School -- who Jesus is and how to serve others.

He told the graduates as they move on from St. Peter School, they will always be asked, "Who do you say that I am?" and he hoped their time at the school taught that Jesus is "our father. He is our friend. He is our redeemer."

Father Schroeder called this the "most important piece of knowledge that you take away from St. Peter's."

He also encouraged the students to go on and be leaders.

He said serving is "not about what's in it for me . . . it's also about how can I serve, how can I give of myself to others . . . That ultimately is what Jesus calls us to do as his disciples, as his followers"

The next milestone

Immediately following Mass, Father Schroeder and the graduates processed into church to the tune of "Pomp and Circumstance."

St. Peter School Principal Kathi Klaas welcomed everyone celebrating "another milestone" in the lives of the graduating students.

She also thanked the parents of the graduates for their support and sacrifice over the past several years.

She encouraged the graduates to be "faith-filled leaders" as they go on to the next steps of their lives.

She also welcomed them back in the future, no matter what vocation path they are called to: marriage, priesthood, or Religious Life.

Their teacher, Sarah Spielbauer, spoke next, reflecting on what was her first year teaching at St. Peter School.

She said she was "blessed with the opportunity of teaching fourth and fifth grade" and the year "allowed me to develop a deeper love for my faith".

As she became choked with emotion, she said she "couldn't have been more blessed to have taught this fifth grade class."

"Each one of you has a love of life that is astounding," she added, citing their love of learning and "amazing" dedication to studying.

"You have the skills to succeed," she said.

As Spielbauer called them all by name, the graduates came up to receive their diplomas from Klaas and Father Schroeder.

Each name mentioned was met with rowdy applause from everyone in the church.

Now officially graduates, they and Father Schroeder recessed out of church to "Canticle of the Sun".

They lined up one more time as a class for a group photo, proudly displaying their diplomas.

Celebrating 150 years of St. Peter School

At a reception following graduation, the graduates, along with friends and families, got a glimpse of a celebration 150 years in the making.

The walls of the school hall are lined with group photos of St. Peter graduating classes dating back to the 1920s.

The photos are one of the many highlights of an invitation-only event that will be taking place on Friday, June 17, at St. Peter School.

More than 500 alumni, guests, current school families, parishioners, and past and current staff are expected to attend.

 
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