Wednesday, May 27, 2009

St. Bernard graduates 33

St. Bernard Prep School in Cullman graduated thirty-three seniors on Sunday, May 24 in an impressive ceremony conducted in the Abbey Church and under the direction of Fr. Joel Martin, Headmaster of the School. After welcoming members of the Board of Directors, the faculty, the staff and the invited guests, Fr. Joel noted that this year’s graduating seniors had the distinction of earning over $3.3 million dollars in scholarships to colleges and universities.

As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of St. Bernard Preparatory School, the St. Bernard Board of Directors established the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” to be given annually to an alumnus chosen for the honor. Fr. Marcus Voss, President of St. Bernard Prep School, presented over this portion of the graduation ceremonies. After reading the citation, he concluded by saying, “St. Bernard takes pride today in presenting its inaugural ‘Distinguished Alumnus Award’ to a family man, an entrepreneur and a friend – Roy H. Drinkard.”

In the citation, Fr. Marcus noted that Mr. Drinkard was “a distinguished American citizen, an accomplished business and community leader, a dedicated family man and a committed seeker of God’s eternal Truth. Reared and educated in Cullman County, he graduated from St. Bernard High School in 1938 having been trained by a stalwart Benedictine faculty. He proudly served his country during World War II as a U.S. Marine in the Pacific theater. He currently holds the office of President of Drinkard Development, a company with commercial interests that extend across the southeast and beyond. This man, whose business acumen has led his industrial colleagues to select him to represent their common interests, has served as President of the Cullman County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Cullman Planning Commission, as well as Chairman, President and Director of the Industrial Development Board of the City of Cullman. He currently serves on the Boards of Wallace State Community College, Troy State University and the Helen Keller Foundation Board. Blessed with a variety of interests and the stamina to pursue them, this remarkable man is especially devoted to his family and his faith. In a public recognition, his family was named by Cullman County Farm-City as the Outstanding City Family for 2007. A life-long member of the First Baptist Church, he calls himself a Benedictine-Baptist in recognition of the religious values and training that were instilled in him during the formative years of his youth.”

Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Birmingham, the Most Rev. David E. Foley gave the commencement address. “You have had an experience that will last a lifetime,” he said to the graduates. “You will be remembered for your goodness and all the hilarious happenings between yourselves and your teachers. You will be remembered by the monks here.”

Bishop Foley encouraged the students to live their faith and live the values they have been taught. “We live in two worlds – the visible and the invisible. Catholic Education and particularly St. Bernard Prep School takes into account the fact that you have acquired not just truths about things you can see, but that you have been formed in mind, body, and spirit. To hold these elements securely in your grasp, will ensure a future destiny full of hope, happiness and joy forever.”

After the commencement address, Fr. Joel announced this year’s graduation awards. Nino Christorpher Cumba YuTiamco received the valedictorian award while Kristen Nichole Meyer was named salutatorian. In giving the general excellence medal, the highest award given to a graduating senior, Fr. Joel stated that “the criteria for this award requires that a student must be enrolled at St. Bernard Prep for the last two full years, be dedicated to academic excellence, exercise leadership and represent the values of the school.” The 2009 general excellence medal was presented to Maria Teresa Mueller.

Diplomas were presented to the seniors by Abbot Cletus Meagher with Fr. Marcus Voss assisting him. After the awarding of the diplomas, Nino YuTiamco gave the valedictory address. “It is such a great honor to stand before this crowd,” he said. After recognizing his follow graduates, he thanked all the parents for their support and encouragement. He paid special tribute to the parents and grandparents who flew from Korea and the Philippines. To all the parents he said, “You are the ones who held our hands through it all.”

YuTiamco congratulated his fellow graduates for their accomplishments. “Our class is one of a kind,” he said. “We were the largest freshman class when we arrived here four years ago and we have excelled in the scholarship money we have received.” He concluded his remarks by encouraging his classmates “to be the best in whatever you can.”Fr. Joel Martin ended the ceremony by issuing a challenge to the students. “We need challenges because we come alive in struggles,” he said. “We have high expectations for your future. You’re made for greatness. Go and take St. Bernard with you.”

Music for the graduation exercises was provided by Dr. Rebecca Whited, organist, as well as the Alabama Pipes and Drums Corps. The Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Honor Guard of the Fr. Leo Carter Assembly 2624 also participated in the ceremonies.

Following the prayer and dismissal by Abbot Cletus Meagher, a reception was held in the St. Bernard Dining Hall.

8th Grade Graduation at St. Bernard Middle School

Graduation ceremonies held on Thursday, May 21st, marked the completion of the course of studies for twenty-one students enrolled in the Middle School program of St. Bernard Preparatory School. These graduates were part of the first class to complete both years of enrollment in the Middle School that opened its doors in the 2007-08 academic year. Abbot Cletus Meagher, Chairman of the Board for St. Bernard Prep, served as main celebrant of the Mass celebrated in the Abbey Church. During the service he told the students, “Last year may have been our first class to graduate from the Middle School, but you are the first class to complete the first two years.”

Abbot Cletus reminded students that not only did they receive a quality education, but equally as important, their learning took place in a faith-based environment. “With your learning comes wisdom , and wisdom is knowledge. Don’t lose sight of the wisdom that keeps God first. Through him all things are possible.”

“You have been given a strong foundation to prepare you for your high school years. Always remember and be grateful to your parents, grandparents, teachers, alumni and friends who have made great sacrifices so that you can receive the gift of a private education at St. Bernard Prep,” Abbot Cletus said. “You have been prepared, now it is up to you.”

One of the highlights of the evening was the awarding of diplomas to each graduate. These were presented by Abbot Cletus who was assisted by Fr. Marcus Voss, President, Fr. Joel Martin, Headmaster and Mr. John Tekulve, Assistant Headmaster for the Middle School.

A reception held in the St. Bernard Dining Hall followed the ceremonies.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Abbot Cletus Meagher re-elected

Abbot Cletus has been re-elected to serve as Abbot at St. Bernard Abbey until the age of 75. The community met on May 14-16, and re-elected Abbot Cletus to serve them for the next ten years as the their spiritual leader.

Abbot Cletus, the 9th Abbot of St. Bernard, submitted his letter of resignation as mandated by the Constitutions and Directives for the American Cassinese Congregation at the age of 65. At the time he took office the mandatory retirement age was 65, but has since been raised to 75 years of age.

Entering the monastery in 1964, Abbot Cletus made his first vows in 1965. Since that time, he has served in about every capacity in the abbey. He has served as novice master, prior, was pastor for many years at Sacred Heart Church in Cullman. Abbot Cletus said, “Saint Bernard has provided me with home, and education. The support of community has been there with every part of my life. Now I have the opportunity to give back to the community through the work and responsibilities of the job given.”

The community at St. Bernard Abbey affirmed Abbot Cletus’ leadership over the past 14 years at 3 o’clock Friday afternoon. “I consider it a gift and grace from God to be able to serve as the community leader,” Abbot Cletus said.

The role of Abbot is a call to obedience. “I am honored to accept this role and to serve the community in whatever capacity is needed,” Abbot Cletus said.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Congratulations to Brittany Schaefers who was recently named the winner of the Father Luke Fazi Award at St. Bernard Preparatory Schools Athletic Banquet.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Middle School students recognized

Seventeen St. Bernard Middle School students were recognized this week at an awards reception at St. Bernard Dining Hall for their outstanding academic achievements during the 2008-2009 academic year. Eleven seventh grade students walked away with 29 awards. Awards were given as follows:
Logan Ayers - academic achievement in religion, literature, mathematics, civics, geography and science.
Mackenzie Bockhold excellence in literature, mathematics, civics, geography, science and English.
Zoie Wilson - achievements in religion, literature, mathematics, geography, and science.
Katherine Gamble - academic recognition for excellence in geography, science and music.
Anna Barbee - recognition for her achievement in religion and civics.
Anna Caroline Keefe - academic achievement in religion and music.
Oscar Perez - academic excellence in geography.
Michayla Brown, John Lappert, Paige Montgomery, and Madison Pride each claimed an excellence in music award.

Six eighth grade students were honored for their academic achievements as follows:
Sean MacFarlane – academic excellence in religion, literature, pre-algebra, world history and English.
Connor Rawlings – academic excellence in religion, literature, pre-algebra, world history and science.
Jerrica Crawford – academic excellence in literature.
Andy Woods – academic excellence in world history.
Bennett Glasscock and Savanna Glover claimed the outstanding musician awards.

Honors reception held at St. Bernard

St. Bernard Prep School honored students at a recognition ceremony recently . Maria Mueller of Hoover, earned the Christian Service Award. Elizabeth Schweers of Madison, and Jason Lee of South Korea shared the Benedictine Medal of Merit Award. Pictured are: Abbot Cletus Meagher, O.S.B. – Chairman of St. Bernard Prep School Board; Fr. Marcus Voss, O.S.B., President of St. Bernard Prep School; Elizabeth Schweers, Maria Mueller, Jason Lee, and Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B. Headmaster, St. Bernard Prep School.