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Plenty of pomp, happy circumstances at Notre Dame

Charles Pritchard
Staff writer
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Posted 6/14/22

Notre Dame Junior Senior High School held its commencement ceremony Friday.

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Plenty of pomp, happy circumstances at Notre Dame


UTICA — Notre Dame Junior Senior High School held its commencement ceremony Friday, where the class’s valedictorian and salutatorian urged their fellow members of the Class of 2022 to be true to themselves and remember the bonds they made along the way.

Valedictorian Juliet Thistleton was involved in numerous school programs. She’s a member of the Notre Dame band, the Praise and Worship band, the varsity bowling team, the yearbook, junior and senior prom committee, fundraising coordinator and treasurer of the Junior B Sharp Club.

Thistleton’s commitment to academics and leadership made her a perfect candidate for the youth ambassador program and selection for an internship at the Broadway Theater League in Utica, school officials said, adding that Thistleton will attend Clarkson University to study data science.

“Thank you for all attending and witnessing these outstanding soon-to-be Notre Dame alumni,” Thistleton said. The valedictorian asked fellow seniors to close their eyes and think back to when they first attended Notre Dame, walking through the doors to junior and senior high.

“Whatever you were feeling at that time, you were opening the doors to the next part of your lives,” she said.

Thistleton said God gave each person a distinct purpose and it did no good to compare purposes against each other. “As long as you’re working to the best of your abilities, you’re right where you need to be,” she said, urging fellow graduates to not listen to “... a world that tells you who to be and be true to yourself.”

Notre Dame’s salutatorian is Hayley Heffernan. Heffernan is a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the NJROTC program, the varsity cross country team captain, varsity basketball team captain, a member of the varsity track and field team, a member of the school band ensemble, student council, student ambassador, and social media manager. She also logged 500 hours of community service involvement.

Heffernan will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying sports administration.

Heffernan said while graduation is a time to celebrate accomplishments, it couldn’t be possible with the support of friends, family, and loved ones who were in attendance.

Heffernan thanked her family, her brother especially, and her classmates. “The bond we share is special,” she said. “Sure, we go to a small school but I’d rather have this amazing group next to me than thousands of individuals that I barely know.”

“I’ve only been a part of the Notre Dame family for six years,” Heffernan continued. “But through the six years, I’ve had the honor of watching all of you grow and turn into the amazing people that you are today. And as I stand before you, I see more than just the Class of 2022. I see a family I’ve grown closer to over these last six years.”

Heffernan admitted she was scared of what the future will hold, but said that was OK.

“We’re not supposed to have our lives planned out in this moment,” she said. “Our world is filled with endless opportunities and if we’re not happy with one thing, there’s always another option. No matter where you go in life, know that we’ll always have each other.”

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