St. Joseph graduates: 'I encourage you to help make the world better'

Olivia Creager, center, hands scholarship certificates to St. Joseph High School principal William McArdle Jr. during the graduation ceremony at the Victoria Fine Arts Center.
  • ST. JOSEPH CLASS OF 2012

  • SCHOOL COLORS: Royal blue and white

    CLASS SIZE: 81

    VALEDICTORIAN: Christopher Kyle Mason

    SALUTATORIAN: Jaclyn Ann Boozalis

    NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY STUDENTS: 39

    NATIONAL MERIT RECOGNITION: Christopher Kyle Mason - National Merit finalist; Christian Mark Wenske - National Merit commended student

  • How has attending a small school benefited your academic career?

  • "I liked it because you would get more one-on-one with the teachers."

    Timmy Hubbell,

    18, Victoria College

    "You get to know everybody and the teachers can focus on individual learning when there's a small number of kids."

    Alex Innes,

    18, ...

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  • How has attending a small school benefited your academic career?

    "I liked it because you would get more one-on-one with the teachers."

    Timmy Hubbell,

    18, Victoria College

    "You get to know everybody and the teachers can focus on individual learning when there's a small number of kids."

    Alex Innes,

    18, Victoria College

    "I got to meet a whole lot of people and, frankly, I like small."

    Emily Janak,

    18, Victoria College."

    "You get more one-on-one time with teachers and learn more."

    Erin Johnson,

    17, Texas A&M

Victoria Judge Stephen Williams had four tips for St. Joseph's class of 2012 during his commencement keynote address Sunday night.

"I think I'd rather give you some practical advice about college," the Victoria native and St. Joe alumni said to the class's 81 graduates.

On college: "First of all - get in. Second - get out," Williams told a giggling crowd of family and friends in the auditorium of the VISD Fine Arts Center.

Adding to his list of advice, Williams encouraged students to find employment while earning their degree and to avoid debt, if at all possible.

As an elected official, Williams also urged students to take seriously their role in American politics and encouraged them to vote as soon as Tuesday in the primary elections.

"I recommend you get involved in politics to whatever extent you can," he said. "My generation hasn't managed to accomplish much, but I'm very impressed with your generation."

Class valedictorian Chris Mason encouraged his classmates as they venture off into the world to remember the friendships they made at St. Joseph. No matter where they end up, he said, they will always have a family in the class of 2012.

"This is our home ... to have a home, you have to have a family," he said.

Mason encouraged his friends and classmates to keep their eyes and hearts focused on God, as the "commander of love's army," and to attempt, at all costs, to leave a positive impact on the world.

"The greatest weapon we have against life's struggles is love," he said. "We can either become bitter, or become better. ... I encourage you to help make the world better."