Smiles, hugs, wind-blown National Honor Society hoods, a weather delay, and fireworks were all part of the Class of 2021’s graduation ceremony on May 16, De Smet Jesuit’s 51st commencement exercises. But it is the 172 graduates, and their legacy of leadership and service, who assembled guests will remember most.
The graduates processed into the ceremony on Suntrup Field carrying yellow roses, symbols of gratitude to present to their parents. Principal Kevin Poelker ’98 welcomed guests, stating, “Class of 2021, you have been exceptional leaders and role models, and you have earned the respect and admiration of your teachers, coaches, and fellow students. We are better because of you and will miss you.”
In his remarks, De Smet Jesuit’s President, Dr. Daniel Zepp, challenged graduates to model the legacy of St. Ignatius of Loyola. “Set the world aflame,” he said. “We expect you to dream big, like St. Ignatius, discern what you are meant to do, and pursue it with everything you have. When you do that, you can transform the world.”
Salutatorian Ben Mueller led the Convocation Prayer, and Valedictorian Jack Jones offered an address to the graduates. “In high school, we’ve been looking to discover ourselves: finding our passions and meeting our people,” Jack said. “Now we look forward and wonder about the beyond. We try to fit the pieces together to join ourselves and service; our greatest joy meeting the world’s deepest need; and what we are going to make of the life that is in front of us.”
Following the conferral of diplomas, Fr. Jim Burshek, S.J., offered the closing Benediction.
“Loving God, may these young men who have been so gifted by you now share all of their gifts with the world, so that as they near the end of their journey of faith toward you, they may hear you say to them as we say to them today: These are our beloved sons in whom we are very well pleased.”
Congratulations, De Smet Jesuit Class of 2021!
Graduation 2021 Awards
The following awards were presented during the graduation ceremony. Congratulations to all honorees.
Men of the Year
Gael Cosgaya, Michael Cutler, Marquis Govan, Andrew Herrmann, Yaya Keita, Justin Kennedy, Ben Mueller, Connor Pohl, Ian Quinn, Brad Rumping, Bryan Rumping, Mekhi Wingo
Jerry McMahon, S.J., Award
Chosen by vote of the senior class, presented to a senior who epitomizes what it means to be a true man for with others
Jesuit Schools Network Awards
Students who exemplify the Jesuit Graduate at Graduation ideals: open to growth; loving; religious; intellectually competent; developing as a leader, and committed to justice
To seniors who embody the values contained in De Smet Jesuit’s mission statement and exemplify what it means to be a man for and with others
Fr. Windmueller, S.J., Ignatian Educator Award
To a teacher chosen by vote of the senior class
Dr. Patrick Berger Excellence in Teaching Awards
Chosen by vote of students in each grade level
Freshmen: Kennedy Phillips
Sophomores: Alex Hall
Juniors: Tom Sothers