News & Events

Catholic high school graduates in Central Jersey receive more than $114 million in scholarships and awards

June 05, 2018

Class of 2018 realizes a $21.5 million increase from 2017

Class of 2018 graduate Emma Friedlander is conferred her diploma by Bishop James F. Checchio during the June 2 commencement exercises at Bishop George Ahr High School, Edison. (Photo by Michael Ehrmann/The Catholic Spirit)CENTRAL JERSEY – After years of hard work and perseverance, 573 graduates of the four Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Metuchen, who together amassed more than $114 million in scholarships and awards – which is up from the $21.5 million from last year – reached the culmination of their high school education when they were presented their diplomas by Bishop James F. Checchio.

Seniors at Saint Joseph High School were the first graduating class in the diocese this year, marking the occasion on May 20 at the Church of the Sacred Heart, South Plainfield. Graduates of Immaculata High School received their diplomas, awards and honorable recognitions on June 1, followed a day later by graduates of Bishop George Ahr High School and Mount Saint Mary Academy, which held commencement exercises on June 2.

Among the 231 graduating seniors at Bishop George Ahr High School, Edison, more than $46 million in scholarships and grants were awarded this year. Over four years, the Class of 2018 averaged nearly 272 hours of community service per student; and 98 percent of graduates will continue their studies at a college or university.

The diocese’s co-educational college preparatory school was founded in 1969 and is administered by two Franciscan Felician Sisters with a dedicated team of lay administration, faculty and staff, and a diocesan priest, who serves as the full-time Director of Catholic Identity at the school.

Class valedictorian Taylor Chan will pursue degrees in economics and international studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., while salutatorian Rebecca Yang will study mathematics at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

At Immaculata High School, Somerville, members of the Class of 2018 earned over $13.7 million in college scholarships. Over 90 percent of the 107 graduates were accepted to their first choice college or university; and 80 percent of the graduates received scholarships in excess of the four-year cost of attending the co-ed college preparatory high school staffed by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM). The school is also lead by a dedicated team of lay administration, faculty and staff, and a diocesan priest, who serves as the full-time Director of Catholic Identity.

Valedictorian Megan Adam plans to study architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York State, and salutatorian Meaghan O’Connor will pursue a degree in biomedical engineering at South Carolina Honors College in Columbia, SC.

At Saint Joseph High School, Metuchen, the 155 graduating seniors cumulatively received over $37.2 million in scholarships. The school had four National Merit Finalists and six National Merit Commended Students; and 94 percent of the graduates received scholarships in excess of the four-year cost of attending the private Catholic all-boys college preparatory school run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.

Valedictorian Devin Busono will pursue a degree in marine biology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and salutatorian Jason Manuel plans to study applied math and computer science at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

At Mount Saint Mary Academy, Watchung, 89 percent of the 80 seniors were awarded $17.1 million in scholarships and grants; and 30 percent of the graduates received scholarships in excess of the four-year cost of attending the Catholic, private all-girls high school owned and operated by the Sisters of Mercy of the Mid-Atlantic.

Valedictorian Brigid Meisenbacher plans to attend the University of Notre Dame in Ind., where she will study economics and applied mathematics, and salutatorian Elisabeth Incardona plans to study biological sciences at the University of Chicago in Ill.

The graduating seniors who received the 2018 Bishop James F. Checchio Award for Religion are: Jude Roche of Bishop George Ahr High School; Leo James Melancon of Immaculata High School; Cara Condodina of Mount Saint Mary Academy; and Christian Consales of Saint Joseph High School.

Bishop Checchio, who participated in all four commencement ceremonies, said it brings him joy to attend the high school graduations. He noted that the visits offer him the opportunity to personally thank those who contribute to the success of the schools, primarily the students, but also the administrators, boards, teachers, staff and generous benefactors.

Reflecting on his own high school graduation and recent conversations with young graduates, Bishop Checchio said that commencement exercises can often signal completion and lead graduates to believe they finally have answers. “But, there are really more questions than answers,” he said.

As the graduates enter into the next phase of their young adult lives, he encouraged them to keep one question above the rest: “What is Jesus asking of me?”

“Each and every one of our graduates has been created and loved into being by a God who has a purpose, a design for them; for all of us,” the bishop said. “In these years ahead, they are going to be faced with many obstacles in discovering what that is.”

“I encourage them to remember the words of Jesus to his first disciples and which He speaks to us today: ‘Do not be afraid…by your perseverance you will secure your lives.’ Their true happiness in life, not a fleeting happiness, will be intricately linked to their discovering what God wants of them…guaranteed.”

“After all,” said Bishop Checchio, “He created each of us, knit us together in our mother’s womb, and He knows us better than we know ourselves…so we need to go to Him regularly in trying to figure things out.”

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Metuchen are now enrolling students for fall 2018. For more information about enrolling your child or to find out how you can help support the privately-funded programs which provide tuition assistance to aid low-and moderate-income families within the diocese, please visit diometuchen.org/schools or call (732) 562-2446.

# # #

View all News stories »