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5/27/2014 2:43:00 PM
Experiences form St. Therese students to live well
St. Therese School photo
The class of 2014 from St. Therese School.  
St. Therese School photo
The class of 2014 from St. Therese School.

Graduation for eighth graders at St. Therese School in Northeast Portland comes Tuesday, June 10, with a 9 a.m. awards assembly and a 7 p.m. graduation Mass in the church. Out of 29 students, one was accepted to Jesuit, 10 to Central Catholic and 15 to La Salle Prep.

The eighth grade class at St. Therese has several things in common: looking forward to eighth grade privilege days, excitement about going on to high school, and a common frustration with trying to keep kindergarten/1st grade buddies quiet during Mass.

Clayton Barnett, who will be a freshman at Jesuit High School in the fall, lamented, “The biggest challenge is keeping him well behaved in church, but we managed it. I learned you need to be patient and a good role model.”

The St. Therese School family group program has always been a favorite of both the younger and older students. The “family group” was started in the 1980s at St. Therese to help the students understand that the school community is a family. Each group contains at least one student of each of the grades, kindergarten through eighth. The eighth grade students oversee all activities of the family group as the “parent” of the family. The most frequent activity is when the middle school students collect the younger students for student body Mass and sit together.

Through the school year the family groups participate in different activities: game day, field day, Halloween parade, service projects and more.

Alexa Foley laughed about last year’s field day: “I was responsible for five kindergarteners and most of them just wanted to play with the bubbles.” Eric Nguyen said, “It was hard to try to answer all the curious questions the K/1st buddies had about everything.” It not only guides the young students, but it brings a new appreciation of patience for the older students.

The eighth grade class has participated in various service projects for the school, parish and community: Knights of Columbus pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, St. Vincent de Paul and school fundraisers. Joshua Phelan, who will be a freshman at La Salle Prep next year, said he believes he has served more than 100 hours this year.

“I enjoyed altar serving. I like to serve the Lord and have a better connection with God,” Joshua said.

The students believe their connection with their teachers and a strong religious education will help the Holy Spirit guide them through their transition to high school. “Eighth grade with Ms. Baumbach has taught me to be the best person I can be. During advisory we would talk about how to be ourselves and be comfortable talking about personal and communal subjects,” said Alexa. Eric summed it up best: “The gift of the Spirit that will hopefully help me in high school is courage. This gift will lead to the other gifts.”

Here are the graduates: Joyce Khouri, John Nguyen, Victoria Duvalko, Eric Nguyen, Joshua Phelan, Vincent Nguyen, Nick Vidan, Bao Huynh, Dylan Gabriel, Gary Curtin, Clayton Barnett, Keegan Taylor, Elizabeth Moran, Camille Guerrero, Alexa Foley, Joshua Schultz, Alex Nguyen, Abby Green-Hoke, Darsina Bybee, Alexis Han, Malone Hiebert, Gloria Joseph, Matthew Hendison, Hailey Wright-Salinas, Arianna Fitzsimons

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