Clarkston, Michigan -
“It is a great day to be a Mountaineer!”
These are the words of
Everest Collegiate High School’s executive director, Michael Nalepa, as he
addressed the 17 seniors who made history on Sunday, May
20, 2012, as the first graduating class from the fledgling
high school in Clarkston, Michigan.
Among the group of “co-founders” were 13 young
ladies from Everest Collegiate Girls’ High School and 4 young
men from Everest Collegiate Boys’ High School.
In conjunction with
its namesake, Mount Everest (the highest mountain in the world)
the school aptly named its mascot the Mountaineers, and its
motto is “Semper Altius” meaning “Always Higher.”
Nalepa pointed out to the graduates
that they have not just received a high school education,
but an “Everest Collegiate formation.” Everest uses the
education model “Integral Formation” which is based on four “pillars,”
including spiritual, academic, human virtue and apostolic service.
|Fr. Luis Garza LC and Fr. Lorenzo Gomez LC during Mass|
the May 20th Sunday Gospel readings celebrating the Ascension, where
Jesus Christ exhorted his apostles, Mike told the graduates to
“Go into the world and proclaim the Gospel.”
“To whom much
has been given, much is expected,” he reminded the graduates.
During the Mass
that opened the ceremony, the graduates presented symbols of the
four formation pillars during the offertory. A crucifix
was presented to symbolize the spiritual pillar; a compass to
symbolize human virtue development via the guidance of a well-formed
conscience; a lighted candle to symbolize the apostolic pillar as
the graduates were urged to go out and be “lights”
in the world; and a textbook to symbolize the academic
aspect of the graduates’ formation.
|Patrick Nalepa, recipient of the Integer Award for Everest Collegiate Boys' High School, addresses his classmates and guests|
Fr. Luis Garza LC, Territorial Director of the
Legion of Christ for North America, celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass,
and Everest chaplain Fr. Lorenzo Gomez LC and high school
formation director Fr. Daniel Pajerski LC, concelebrated.
Robert Mylod, the former Chairman
of Michigan National Corporation, who was instrumental in starting the
Fr. Lorenzo Gomez Scholarship fund for students attending Everest Collegiate,
gave the keynote address. He told the students
to emulate the great St. Athanasius, who combated the Arian
heresy during the time of the council of the Catholic
Church in the fourth century. He said St.
Athanasius was known as “Contra Mundi” meaning “Against the World.” He told the students to be “Contra Mundis”
as they do their part to transform the world.
Also addressing the audience,
which gathered under the sunshine on a beautiful spring day
under a the large white tent on the football field
of the school campus, were the two valedictorians – Miranda
Ferguson for the girls’ high school, and Sam Bellestri for
the boys’ high school.
Students Mikayla Thibodeau and Patrick Nalepa,
recipients of the Integer Award, also spoke. The
Integer award recognizes students who have demonstrated exceptional characteristics of
leadership and apostleship, assimilating the highest ideals of all four
areas of Integral Formation.
Everest High School Principal Greg Reichert’s voice broke with
emotion as he told the students to celebrate the future
with hope, confidence and great faith.
“I am so proud to have served
you,” he said. “Remember your faith, the lessons taught to
you, the advice and wisdom of your teachers, and stay
true to your alma mater.”
(Photos courtesy of Dziekonski Photography)