Graduates reflect diversity, service, discipleship

By Catherine Cook
JACKSON – The four Catholic high schools within the Diocese of Jackson graduated 174 young men and women this year. In the center section of this edition of Mississippi Catholic you’ll see a snapshot of the graduating classes as well as features of the top students. The history of these schools dates back to the mid-1800s, so, the graduates of 2017 join a long list of persons formed in faith and educated for the world in the Catholic schools of Mississippi. Our graduates collectively earned $13.2 million in scholarships based on their academic and athletic performances, as well as their leadership and community service.
This year as we fully become engaged in the Pastoral Priorities of the Diocese of Jackson, we note that our graduating class exemplifies the principles of the priorities in their notable accomplishments. We embrace the diversity of our schools as students learn from each other’s differences.  
Our 2017 graduating class is a diverse group – racially, economically, and yes, religiously. Seventy-two percent are Caucasian and the remaining 28 percent are African-American and other ethnic backgrounds.
Forty-nine percent of our students are from other faith traditions. Our students are diverse, too, in their talents and interests. Our students have collectively completed more than 23,000 service hours. They have enthusiastically served their communities in various ways including: working as camp counselors at special needs camps, working in animal shelters, fundraising for Stew Pot and in many other capacities.
As superintendent I am proud of the teachers, administrators and volunteers who work hard to form the students who will go on inspire discipleship as they become our leaders, educators and the future of the Church. Thank you to all parents, alumni and patrons who support the ministry of Catholic education in our schools. Congratulations to the class of 2017!
(Catherine Cook is the diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools.)