Saying Goodbye to our '23 Graduates

May is the time of year where we sense things are changing. Flowers are in bloom, rain showers come and go, and school years come to an end. Months of packing lunches, rushing out the door, racing to practices, and completing homework sees the end of the tunnel. May just might be both the fastest and slowest month of the year. Inevitably, with each May at The Franciscan School, we also say goodbye to a graduating class as they embark on their new journey of high school.

This year’s class at TFS has made a lasting impact on the faculty and staff throughout the years. “This year’s eighth grade class is truly special,” says Principal Dawn Smith. “They are proud Timberwolves, and we are proud to call them our students.” Like the last few graduating classes, these students have endured the ups and downs of the pandemic. Masks, virtual school, and reduced offerings are a part of their story, too.

We decided to poll the 8th graders to get a pulse on how they are feeling as they head towards graduation. Two of the most popular answers to the question about what they will miss most about TFS were friends and teachers. TFS cultivates a close-knit community where lifelong friends are made and teachers invest in the lives of their students. One student shared that she will most miss “the faculty and staff for sure. Everyone here is trying to help you succeed in life. Specifically, the teachers, Mrs. Smith, Father Jim, and the coaches.”

Eighth graders, no matter when they start at the school, get to participate in so many exciting field trips and experiences. Many students shared that their favorite memories were the Camp Hanes and Washington, D.C. trips, traveling to Old Salem, and going to the zoo in 1st grade. One student shared that her favorite memory was attending the 8th grade Mass at the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Downtown Raleigh. 

When asked about the current 8th grade class, Father Jim shares that “This group has not lost the ability to find what is beautiful in this world, a very important Franciscan characteristic. I believe that their continued witness to beauty and wonder all around us will enrich this world.”

Eighth grade teacher Kristen Dellasega tells us that, “This 8th grade is a very special group of young men and women. This school year has given me many opportunities to see the leadership, faith, and academic excellence that we pray our students embrace. From sitting with prayer buddies at mass to in-depth class discussions, it is clear that our students are multi-faceted and strive to be the best version of themselves. They take on learning for the sake of learning and not simply for a grade. They ask thought-provoking questions. They take on rigorous assignments. They are a group that thanks me after I teach class.”

This year, TFS will graduate 92 students. Many of these students will be going on to Cardinal Gibbons High School, Saint Thomas More Academy, Leesville Road High School, Millbrook High School, and other local high schools. We are excited to see all the ways they will grow over the next four years.

We all share this same sentiment as Dellasega: “While I am excited for them to take on the world, selfishly, I am truly sad to see them depart The Franciscan School." And Principal Smith sums it up perfectly: “I look forward to hearing about their accomplishments and learning about the journey that lies ahead.” 

Farewell, graduates! Go and change the world, because the world needs you!

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