BHS Baccalaureate speaks to being ‘Stronger Together’

The theme for the Bainbridge High School Baccalaureate was “Stronger Together” as graduates and their families gathered at St. Cecelia Catholic Church June 9.

Three students spoke to the theme.

Eilise O’Hartigan spoke of the “complex concoction of anxiety and excitement” about leaving home, not being able to pack her whole room and her friends to take to college with her. She realized that those friendships will always be with her, and she will be looking forward to new ones. “Like many of you, I came into high school not sure what to expect. In the midst of a global pandemic, life was certainly not going to look like a high school musical.”

Chloe Lightle shared a poem. “We are Souls built to dance/The very essence of a being that knows how to follow its heart/We are a harmony created by the fingertips of the Universe/A spirit that sings for the magnitude of dreams/A self with a North star that calls to be chased…So when the universe silently begins to beckon to you like an unspoken dare/ Let it be known/We are Souls built to last forever.”

After Arianna Hord sang and played guitar, student president Emma Adcock used “The Boys in the Boat” as an analogy for “stronger together.”

“The boys in the boat learned that their success was not just about physical strength or individual skill, but about their collective effort and unity. This story illustrates the power of community. When we come together, we combine our strengths, compensate for each other’s weaknesses, and support each other through challenges.”

The keynote speaker was BHS substitute teacher Chastity Malatesta. She asked the audience how many had had her as a teacher, and the majority raised their hands. “So here’s to you, the radiant spirits of the 2024 Bainbridge High School seniors. As you spread your wings and soar into the vast expanse of possibility, may you always remember the indelible mark you’ve left on your community, the shining example you’ve set for those who follow, and the boundless potential that resides within each and every one of you.”

A congregational song, chosen by the student planning committee of Adcock, Kate Hansen, Lightle, O’Hartigan and Abdul Saidi, was Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me,” accompanied by Claire Ross.

Closing words were by John Hunt with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and co-chair of the sponsoring BI North Kitsap Interfaith Council. He wove together the comments of each speaker—building on community, the strength of friends and the value of relationships. He invited the audience to share a few minutes of silence to pray in everyone’s own way to recognize the blessings for all.

Father Mark Kiszelewski from St. Cecelia welcomed everyone at the start. Kathryn Lafond of IFC, in her invocation, offered encouragement to make time to find the deep peace within, to “know thyself” and to listen to the wisdom of the body. The event was facilitated by IFC members Alice Tawresey and Frances Atherton.