The 271-member Bishop Kenny High School Class of 2017 participated in commencement exercises at the University of North Florida Arena on Saturday, May 20. Earlier in the week seniors and their families attended an awards program at UNF and Mass at St. Joseph’s Church in Mandarin. Bishop Kenny graduate Rev. Michael Pendergraft ’71 presided at Mass.
After welcoming the assembled graduates and an estimated 3,500 guests, Bishop Felipe Estévez opened the graduation ceremony with prayer. Bishop was joined on stage by Deacon Scott Conway, Diocesan Superintendent of Schools, Principal Todd Orlando, BK President Emeritus Rev. Michael Houle ’71, graduation speaker Ms. Lark Will ’77, BK School Board Chairman, Anthony Parete ’80, and Vice-Principals Vincent Saladino ’95 and Mary DeSalvo.
Miss Rachel Blaydes, Salutatorian, welcomed the assembled guests on behalf of the Class of 2017 and Mark Dolmovich delivered the Valedictory address. The Bishop Kenny Chorus, under the direction of Mr. John Shannon, performed two selections, Hail, Bishop Kenny! and Homeward Bound. Each was enthusiastically received.
Ms. Lark Will, a member of the Bishop Kenny Class of 1977, delivered the graduation address. Ms. Will is a successful businesswoman who has run call centers throughout the world for corporations including AT&T, American Express, Fidelity, eBay, and Pfizer. Currently she is the Vice-President of Technical Support for PowerSchool, a leading education technology company serving 100 million users in 70 countries. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and an MBA from Jacksonville University.
Later in the program Bishop Estévez presented a diploma to each graduate. In all, the BK Class of 2017 has a 100% college acceptance rate and has earned over $10 million dollars in college scholarships. We wish these fine students God’s blessings in their future endeavors.