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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Highlands School Graduates Embody Christian Leadership
With a blessing from Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, 32 seniors celebrated the end of one journey and the start of the next.

girls graduates
The 20 girls of the graduating class at The Highlands School.

June 10, 2009. Irving, TX. On the weekend that the Catholic faith celebrated The Feast of Pentecost,  the event which marks the beginning of the apostles’ evangelical mission and the foundation of the Catholic Church, 32 seniors from The Highlands School celebrated the commencement of  their own personal journeys as Christian leaders. 

Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of the diocese of Dallas, celebrated the Mass, giving a homily on charity. He also delivered the invocation and blessed the graduates.  Formation Director for the Girls’ School, Denise Funke, commented, “We are so grateful for Bishop Farrell’s presence at our graduation and for his support of our mission here at The Highlands.”

Although academic achievement is stressed at The Highlands School, the highest honor for a graduate is to be the recipient of the Integer Award.   This award incorporates the four dimensions of Christian formation: intellectual, human, spiritual and apostolic.  Formation is the basis for helping students fulfill the unique mission for which they were created.  Since there is both a Boys’ and a Girls’ School at The Highlands, there are two recipients for each award.  Maria Albert of Coppell received the Integer Award for the Girls’ School and Jacob Schaad of
Highlands boys graduates
The 12 boys in The Highlands School graduating class.
Dallas for the Boys’ School. 

Fr Alfonse, Formation Director for the Boys’ School, said, “The school is well aware that formation of the child begins at home.” In fact, Jacob was the second child from the Schaad family to receive this prestigious award.

The school’s two valedictorians were Molly Miller of Irving and Heung Sun Kwon of Denton.  Miller is also a National Merit Finalist. Having graduated with a 4.110 grade point average, she will be attending the University of Oklahoma with a full scholarship. Kwon, who will be attending New York University, graduated with a grade point average of 4.010.  Both students gave inspirational speeches that both impressed and amused their peers.

Students are encouraged to respect life as part of their Christian formation, which made Karen Garnett an appropriate choice for the keynote speaker.  Mrs. Garnett, who has been the Executive Director of the Catholic Pro Life Committee—Dallas for sixteen years, is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation of Texas’ Motherhood Award in 2007 and the John Cardinal O’Connor Pro-Life Hall of Fame Award in 2006. Under her headship, which began in 1993, the number of abortion centers in Dallas has fallen from thirteen to five.  Mrs.
Maria Albert of Coppell received the Integer Award for the Girls’ School
Maria Albert of Coppell received the Integer Award for the Girls’ School
Garnett recalled Pope John Paul II’s words that remind us of our “inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life. He said, ´…the task of accepting and serving life involves everyone; and this task must be fulfilled above all towards life when it is at its weakest.´”

The President’s Award for educational excellence is given to students with a cumulative grade point average 3.5 or higher.  These recipients were:  Maria Albert, Katharine Dober, Cecilia Arreola-Marvan Mariana Martin, Molly Miller, Kathleen Venincasa, Charlotte Ward, Thomas Kleiner, Henry Kwon, James Meier and Jacob Schaad. 

Texas Christian University awards the most outstanding incoming freshmen with academic scholarships.  The following students have been awarded recognition and scholarships from TCU:  Maria Albert, Cecilia Arreola-Marvan, Mariana Martin, and James Meier.

Addressing the faculty and staff at a luncheon meeting yesterday, Highlands’ Executive Director John Borley said, “The Highlands School’s main goal is to form our students into responsible Christian leaders and then send them out into the world ready to represent Christ.  I am happy to say that I believe we accomplished our goal with those 32 seniors who graduated last Saturday.” 

Fr Alfonse reminded the teachers, “The greatest gift we can give our students is that they
Jacob Schaad received the Integer Award for the Boys School.
Jacob Schaad received the Integer Award for the Boys' School.
believe in God and they believe in themselves.  Always stay close to Him, because we exist to transmit the love of God to our children.  More importantly, if we convey the love of God to each other, it will translate into our students believing in themselves.” 

About The Highlands School
Established in 1986, The Highlands School is a Catholic college-preparatory school. Offering grades Pre-K through 12th, the mission of The Highlands School is to provide the highest quality
education and integral formation of the student as a well-rounded mature youth of character and integrity. Personalized attention from faculty, staff, and religious provides each student with the maximum opportunity for growth.



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