Class of 2014 reflects on experience


  • Graduates: 83
  • Percentage of college bound: 100 percent
  • Number of scholarships awarded: 186
  • Largest scholarship awarded: $300,000
  • Total scholarship money earned: $3,936,344
  • Military enlistments: 1 Army and 1 Marine
  • Senior class service hours: 33,816
  • Notable service project: Dance marathon

Member of Madison St. Francis of Assisi Parish

From her speech: Two of the most important things I have learned at St. Joe, and what I want you to take with you today are a passion for everything you do and an awareness of your worth, beauty and sacredness as children of God. … We have been blessed to be surrounded by teachers who have taken absolute joy in nurturing their students. Their passion has inspired me to push through those late nights of studying, countless tutoring sessions …
“The St. Joseph staff has made me aware of my dignity as a human being and of my values. When we embark on the world, we must remember to love ourselves enough not only to work hard for our passion but also time for rest and relaxation …
Plans to attend: Mississippi State University to study engineering.

Member of Jackson St. Richard Parish

From his speech: Quoting Tennessee Williams, who he had the privilege of portraying, Brilley read, “There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors” I offer this quote to my classmates not because I believe in our overarching “un-specialness” (although I do), but because the most important lesson I’ve learned in these six years is that happiness comes from noticing how truly un-remarkable you are and choosing to defy your insignificance with each and every breath.
Plans to attend: Washington Lee

CO-SALUTATORIAN: Ramsey Fairbank
Member of Jackson St. Richard Parish

From her speech: “Looking back on it in twenty years when I have a career and am oh so high and important (not), these memories will probably seem like nothing but silly high school experiences that won’t mean much to me, but that’s not right. Learning fractals from Mr. Richards changed me, watching “Lorenzo’s Oil” with my AP chemistry class changed me, studying for Mrs. Tupman’s Phylum Friday test changed me. Maybe not in some grandiose, obvious way, but small changes add up. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my education at St. Joe, and there’s no one sitting up here who can say any differently. You definitely won’t remember this speech in twenty years, class of 2014, but if you remember anything, remember St. Joe. Remember what made you who you are, and, inevitably, what you will become.”
Plans to attend: Auburn University


Natchez Cathedral School

  • Graduates: 35
  • Percentage of college bound: 100 percent
  • Number of scholarships awarded: 33
  • Percentage of scholarship recipients: 94 percent
  • Largest scholarship awarded: $112,000 to Presley Davids from Millsaps College
  • Notable colleges: Spring Hill College, Rhodes College
  • Total scholarship money earned: $2.2 million
  • Notable service projects: Caroline Downer hosted a drive for toys to give every child at Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children which she delivered to the Jackson hospital. Having a benign bone tumor on her hip, she knew first-hand what these children go through and wanted give the kids something to lift their spirits.  Kids Against Hunger meal-packing event put on by Cathedral School Key Club during the Key Club District Conference, which Cathedral hosted this year. Students packaged more than 80,000 packages of food. The students opted to donate the meals to local food banks, shelters, churches, and other organizations in need as opposed to sending them overseas.

VALEDICTORIAN: Alyssa Christine Stewart
GPA: 98.402 ACT: 30

From her speech: “As we prepare for the next chapters in our lives, I encourage each and every one of you to embrace life and to experience everything that it has to offer. Don’t be afraid to take risks or to fail. Don’t have regrets and don’t reflect upon the what-ifs. All of our experiences (even the bad ones) help to mold our character and determine who we are as individuals.”
Plans to attend: Louisiana State University to study biology.

Gabrien Joyce Caramat Panteria
GPA: 98.179 – ACT: 27
Member of St. Mary Basilica

From her speech: Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” I encourage my class to listen to her quote, to always believe in your dreams and aim high, for I believe you have the potential to be successful in anything you put your attention and effort into. Go forth, make a difference in this world, and use what you know; you can do anything.
I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all our teachers and faculty members for believing in our dreams, helping us grow educationally and spiritually, and encouraging us to do our best … I do know one thing: our years at Cathedral School have given us some of the best memories of our lives, lessons to learn from, and skills to give us confidence, intelligence, and personal integrity.
Plans to attend: Louisiana State University and study coastal environmental engineering/biology.


  • Graduates: 35
  • Percentage of college bound: 100 percent
  • Number of scholarship recipients: 28
  • Percentage of scholarship recipients: 80 percent
  • Largest scholarship awarded: $105,800
  • Notable colleges: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Total scholarship money earned: $3,941,118
  • Senior class service hours: 3,300 hours
  • Notable service projects: Filipino dinner to benefit Catholic Relief Services efforts to help typhoon victims in the Philippines.

GPA: 4.76 – ACT: 34
Member of St. Michael Catholic Church

From his speech: Through Mrs. Phillips’s rigorous math classes, I learned to love calculus and I realized that when I had a positive mindset towards a challenging and slightly bizarre differentiation or integration problem, it was more bearable to suffer through …
“In the history and humanities classes taught by Coach Booth,  I realized how understanding the material given, not simply memorizing it, was the key to learning.  He stressed the importance of critical thinking and also taught us how to make rational arguments, a skill I will definitely need later on when I’m begging a professor to extend a deadline.
Plans to attend: Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study mechanical engineering.

SALUTATORIAN: Lara Lamanilao
GPA: 4.63  –  ACT: 30
Member of St. Michael Catholic Church

From her speech: “Attending Vicksburg Catholic School has given us the privilege to express our faith. Through theology classes, Masses, retreats, and daily prayer, we constantly deepen our relationships with God. It is nice that we are able to pray together and for each other.  
“The Class of 2014 will be attending colleges from the east to west coast. Our education has fostered in us new career aspirations other than becoming a ninja, as we will pursue careers as doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, accountants, and business men. Vicksburg Catholic School has given the senior class the opportunity to instill within ourselves exemplary character and a prime education that has built thinkers, writers, speakers, problem solvers, and citizens of the Gospel.  We are honored to soon be graduates of St. Aloysius and are proud to continue the tradition of Vicksburg Catholic School.”
Plans to attend: Mississippi College


  • Number of graduates: 37
  • Percentage of college bound:  97 percent
  • Number of scholarship recipients: 26
  • Percentage of scholarship recipients: 68 percent
  • Largest scholarship awarded: $122,800
  • Notable colleges: Columbia University, Chapman University, John Paul the Great Catholic University, University of Central Florida, Millsaps College.
  • Total scholarship money earned: $1.7 million
  • Total service hours completed by senior class: 950
  • Notable service projects: Parker Jones Fund, a lasting memorial for Jones who died from a brain tumor; St. Vincent DePaul, Carrie Stern Reading Mentors.
  • School honors earned this year: Academic Bowl Winner for second year in a row, state champions (team and individuals), District Championships baseball, tennis, softball.

VALEDICTORIAN: Caroline Mansour
GPA: 96.9  ACT: 33
Member of St. Joseph Catholic Church

From her speech: “I’ve thought a lot about the past and the future looking for a meaning, and the only pattern I’ve found is that it’s hard to appreciate the present. My present right now is standing here in the St. Joe gym at the 2014 graduation, but being here wouldn’t mean anything unless we were all here together. The only thing we have in common is that we are all here for this moment, together. That is our binding thread. It may seem weak or inconsequential, but to find people to share your moments with is to live with meaning.
… If we are lucky enough to have moments we want to live forever, our challenge is to share them. So while I may not know enough or have a story to write, I certainly have to thank the people who helped me pick up my pen. To St. Joe, who gave me the best six years it possibly could. You rarely said no, you made me feel special.”
Plans to attend: Columbia University.

SALUTATORIAN: Reya Marie Hayek
GPA: 94.6  ACT: 27
Member of St. Joseph Catholic Church

From her speech: “I would also like to extend a very special thank you to all the parents here today, the true masterminds of our burgeoning success. From diapers, to teenage attitude, to this glorious day. It is under your care and protection that we acquired the skills that made it possible for us to be here today. You have guided us, scolded us, and molded us into the strong and independent young men and women that are seated before you today. You sacrificed immensely to see us graduate.
Thank you for tolerating the tears, the drama, the cries, and the heartbreaks. Thank you for the warmth and strength you provided us with.  As we get ready to fly with our own wings and see and experience the world, we know that a part of you all will always be with us, your hearts …”
Plans to attend: Millsaps College