Bishop Guertin grads lauded at commencement

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup A few of the many athletic banners earned by Bishop Guertin students over the years hang behind Class of 2018 valedictorian Holly Boivin as she addresses her fellow graduates and families.

NASHUA – Holly Boivin was 14 and “clueless” when she first set foot in Bishop Guertin High School, the Nashua resident told her green-and-gold-clad classmates and a sea of visitors to Sunday’s commencement.

Worse, Boivin said, was finding herself in the looming shadow of her older brother, “the genius of the family” and Guertin’s 2014 salutatorian.

The combination convinced the fledgling freshman she would “never be able to surpass” what her brother had accomplished, she said.

But Boivin, by choosing to carve out a path of her own design and “not letting other people’s expectations get in the way of what makes you happy,” earned the honor of speaking to her fellow graduates Sunday as the valedictorian of the class of 2018.

Boivin, who also received the music department award, was among the 200 Bishop Guertin seniors who received diplomas and other accolades at the Catholic high school’s 52nd commencement.

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup Elizabeth Hannabach, the winner of this year's prestigious All-Guertin Award, poses for a photo with Guertin president Linda Brodeur, left, and members of the family of the late Stephen Boland, in whose name a scholarship is given with the award.

Caroline Hoffer was chosen the recipient of this year’s coveted All-Guertin Award, which is presented in memory of Joseph P. Lebrecque to an outstanding senior “who is dedicated to learning, has participated in interscholastic activities, and has given service to the school and the community,” according to its description.

Presented with the All-Guertin Award is the annual Stephen J. Boland ’86 Memorial Scholarship, named for the late 1986 Guertin graduate.

Hoffer also won the top-scholar award in theology.

This year’s Larry Elliott Loyalty Award, named for the longtime Guertin supporter and benefactor, was presented by David Elliott to Elizabeth Hannabach. The award recognizes a senior “who exemplifies dedication and loyalty” to the school “through curricular and co-curricular activities.”

Meanwhile, Guertin Director of Athletics Peter Paladino presented Priscilla Bibeau and Jared Zeichick with this year’s Thomas Sullivan Memorial Scholar-Athlete Awards, which honor one male and one female senior who represent the “commendable and enviable combination of outstanding scholars and fine athletes,” according to its description.

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup Bishop Guertin principal Jason Strniste and mistress of ceremonies Isabelle Crawford-Eng listen at right as Class of 2018 salutatorian Mustafa Eyceoz delivers his speech at Sunday's 52nd Guertin commencement.

Class salutatorian Mustafa “Musti” Eyceoz, a Nashua resident headed to Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, asked his fellow grads to join him in honoring “our families … please applaud these amazing people in our lives,” he said.

Eyceoz also urged them to “give back with kindness and generosity … to our communities” by following the example of the school’s leaders and its governing Brothers of the Sacred Heart.

He described Guertin as “a team … that is greater than the sum of its parts,” and told his audience to remember how being on one kind of team or another “made you part of something greater … greater than simply a group of individuals.”

Being accepted by Bishop Guertin meant being “welcomed into the nest,” Eyceoz said, describing the figurative entity as “more than a school or a building … a community that helps you reach your utmost potential and prepares you for life.”

Bishop Guertin president Linda Brodeur handled the traditional conferring of diplomas, congratulating each graduate individually as they crossed the stage.

Principal Jason Strniste reminded the newly minted graduates that “the responsibility for BG’s mission in your lives (now) shifts fully to your capable shoulders.”

“This is, in fact, your last homework assignment here – and it is a lifelong assignment,” Strniste said.

The world at this time “needs competent, principled, morally centered, faith-filled people …,” he continued. The world needs you, and you are more than up to the task … be a part of that transformation in the world.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.