Alumni Stories

Jul 10

The Unveiling

July 10, 2017 | 7:26 pm

In many cultures around the world, the male rite of passage is a defining moment when young men transition from adolescence to adulthood. In the Cherokee Night Ritual, a boy is blindfolded and sent into the forest to spend the night alone. Unbeknownst to him, his father was present throughout the entire night keeping guard over his son. This passage is a sign that we are never alone. The people who treasure us the most are constantly guiding us toward victory. On June 3rd, our Hayesmen witnessed this same feeling as they walked down the aisle of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. After four years of being tested in every facet of their lives, they are now fully unveiled to the world. The parents, mentors, and teachers who stood by them through tribulations and moments of joy helped them usher in a new time in their lives filled with great promise.

For many graduates like Ezequiel Ayala-Santos, graduation was bittersweet. The Hayes community was a constant source of support during his high school career. “It feels like a fairytale. This is the dream that I always wanted to accomplish. I am also fulfilling the promise that I made to my late father. The Hayes experience was like going through a furnace and being molded to become what is expected of me.” The morning was filled with words of inspiration to the graduates. Class valedictorian Julius Boateng shared some poignant messages with his brothers. “As we get ready to embark towards our next step in life, may we always remember the values instilled in us at Cardinal Hayes. I am not enlightened enough to offer profound words of wisdom to you all and so I say this, wherever you go, next year, make the most of your opportunities. To fail to do so would be a betrayal of the wonderful years of education and brotherhood at Cardinal Hayes High School.”

Jorge Andres Reyes-Fonseca, class salutatorian reminded graduates to always cherish the heartfelt moments. “I hope that these memories that we have made together remind us of the bond we share as Hayesmen.” That inseparable bond was evident when the Brotherhood honored the life of Delano Cowan. The 17-year-old who died in November of 2016 was awarded a diploma posthumously. Ms. Judith Lewis, Cowan’s mother was present to see the outpouring of love from the Hayes community.

Before the ceremony ended, the newly minted alumni received advice from Principal William Lessa. A portion of his speech stemmed from a 2007 commencement address given by Father Joseph Levesque, President Emeritus of Niagara University. Lessa used Levesque’s words to emphasize the importance of personal character. “Always be people of honesty and integrity. These are the most important things that you can hold in life and no one can take that away from you not ever.” Lessa acknowledged the Reunion Classes of 1947, 1957, and 1967 and reminded the graduates that these elder Hayesmen are men of integrity which is the very essence of the Hayes credo. Good luck to the class of 2017 in their future endeavors and may they continue to uphold the Hayes legacy.