That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Crusaders.
On Tuesday at Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Hilltown Township, Lansdale Catholic graduated its largest class yet, its 62nd, totaling 210 seniors. At the ceremony, the Class of 1964 were awarded golden diplomas for their 50th anniversary. Lansdale Catholic President James Casey opened the ceremony.
The footprints, he said, left behind at Lansdale Catholic High School by the Class of 2014 will be the same footprints that go on to, much like Neil Armstrong's and others' footprints on the Moon, last forever.
"Their footprints are untouched, unaltered, unchanged ... until the end of time," Casey said. "This class left many footprints at Lansdale Catholic. They left many footprints in the classroom and labs. Footprints were left walking to Communion at Mass. Footprints were left in the hallways and the stage; they were left at retreats, proms and dances. The Class of 2014 has left its mark."
He said 2014 has distinguished itself by the footprints it left.
"We were united by our common Crusader heritage," Casey said. "Each member of this class played an important role in the history of the school."
Casey told graduates that the road of discovery would take each of them in different directions.
"A time of challenge and discovery: the years ahead will be this and so much more," Casey said.
He asked graduates use their faith as an anchor from here on out.
"We have prepared you well to take the next step," he said. "You are on your way ... to make your footprints last forever."
Salutatorian Pearl Valentine Guinto Galido told her peers that Tuesday was the culmination of a long 4-year journey at Lansdale Catholic. She remembered being a freshman and having "naive expectations" and "preconceived notions" about life and school, as all they knew about that came from the likes of "Ned's Declassified Survival Guide" and "Joan of Arcadia" on TV. She said the elementary teachers "molded them" into who they would be today, and the actual experience of high school had no comparison.
"I wish we checked our assumptions at the door and left behind all the stereotypes," she said, adding that it did nothing but give a stunted sense of security.
Yet, along the way, they all met new friends, joined clubs and became closer with God—and overcame those false expectations. She said the Class of 2014 succeeded in every experience of high school, and every reality was much greater than the prior assumption.
"Our dynamic is a testament of the victory over the status quo," Galido said. "Today's leaders are sitting here among us, ready to change the world."
Valedictorian John Patrick Rogers touted the school's accomplished sports teams in the Philadelphia Catholic League, and left his peers with the message that striving for excellence leads to success.
"Set specific goals and aim to achieve them," he said. "In order to achieve excellence, you must start putting out your best work. Aiming to achieve excellence, and then achieving it, will lead to success."
Rogers urged his friends to stay productive and always be doing something useful, specifically something that interests them greatly like athletics or starting a business.
"When you do nothing," he said, "(it leads to) low motivation and lack of success. We are well on our way to be successful."
Don't be one of the "sheeple," he said.
"Take this valuable information and just use our heads," Rogers said.
Success, he said, can be derived from God. Religion gives all necessary guidelines to be happy in life, he said, and told the graduates to emulate Jesus and His teachings.
"We have the potential to be successful sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and good friends," he said. "We need not fear the future, but embrace it."
Archdiocese of Philadelphia Secondary Schools Superintendent Dr. Carol Cary spoke to graduates on how the recent words of Pope Francis have inspired her future. She said Pope Francis spoke in May to students and teachers on the topic of schooling, and he said school is "a place where the educated ones are educated on what is true, good and beautiful."
School, Cary said in referring the Pope, is where minds become engaged and the ability to discern right from wrong, good from evil and truth from myth is developed.
"Together, these elements grow and help us live life," Cary said. "True education allows us to love life and open up to the fullness of life."
School helps us adapt to the world we live in, from learning modalities to embracing new technologies.
"It is about seeking knowledge, the pursuit of truth, and the ever-present search for truth, beauty and goodness," she said. "I ask the Class of 2014 to become lifelong learners ... we need to build relationships to grow and journey together for a life fulfilled."
At the end of her address, Cary advised graduates to be mindful of the relationships they make along the way, and to always search for what is true, good and beautiful.
"Remain open to the fulfillment and fullness of life," she said.