Rising to the Challenge: Class of 2024

This year’s class of 2024 has excelled in many ways: in the classroom, in the theater, on the court, on the fields, and in their communities. From athletic championships to stunning performances to academic successes, there is no doubt that this group has a bright future ahead. Principal Dawn Smith shares, “This class has always risen to the challenge and looked out for one another during my four years here at TFS.” 

Smith also shares that she is “looking forward to learning more about this class as they continue on their own path with many more notable achievements to come.” And while middle school for these students did not mean masks and virtual school, they were still bouncing back from the effects of the pandemic just 1-2 years prior. As they approached their final milestone year at TFS, many students commented that some of the hardest challenges they faced were tests, exams, maintaining good grades, the capstone project, and balancing school work with activities. One student shared that his hardest obstacle was “Keeping up with all the work and the many assignments. That's good, though, because it helps me to prepare for high school.”

Colette Dziadul, Assistant Principal for Middle School, has a front-row seat to watching these students grow and develop. “The Class of 2024 is an amazing group of young men and women who have embraced their TFS education and have shown their gifts and talents in many ways," shares Dziadul. She admits that from these students, she has observed some of the finest theater arts, musical performances, athletic, and academic championships.

When asked about their favorite memories from their time at TFS, the most overwhelming response from 8th graders included the joy of field trips, bonding with friends, and participating in school events and sports. Many students fondly remember trips to Washington, D.C., and Camp Hanes, especially the bus rides. Field Day activities were also memorable, and sports played a significant role, with special achievements like winning team championships. Some students also highlighted discovering a love for theater and making lifelong friends. 

One of our favorite questions to ask students is what they will miss most about TFS. 8th graders responded that they will most miss their friends, the close-knit community, and the teachers. Many highlighted the importance of the people they met and the bonds they formed, and some will miss the smaller, familiar environment of their school and the consistency it provided. The overall sentiment reflects a deep appreciation for the supportive, friendly atmosphere and the relationships built over the years. We know this is a unique differentiator for TFS.

Dziadul comments that “this group of 8th graders’ care and passion for doing things and doing things well is admirable—from their determination to climb to the top of the power pole to their Capstone projects. They will clearly continue to use their abilities to glorify God in many ways.”

This year, TFS will graduate 71 students. Many of these students will attend Cardinal Gibbons High School, Leesville Road High School, Saint Thomas More Academy, Sanderson High School, and other local high schools. We are excited to see how they will grow over the next four years.

We wish our 8th graders joy, peace, and love as they embark on their next journey. In the words of Father Jim Sabak, “These students depart the campus of TFS with confidence and courage to stand up for what is right and to call out where injustice attempts to manipulate and distort the truth. May they go forth knowing that they remain now and forever as Franciscans born of The Franciscan School, filled with the knowledge of our love for them and our most sincere wishes for a future that is filled with light and goodness.

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