Bishop Guilfoyle graduation

Class of 2014 salutatorian Jennifer Patterson, 18, said she was nervous to have to speak in front of Bishop Guilfoyle administrators and her peers during commencement.

So, she said she handled it like she would her homework,

“I procrastinated.”

But when she sat down with her Bishop Guilfoyle-issued iPad, her thoughts began to flow, she said.

“I thought back to eighth grade. … We’ve built upon who we were, and we are much better. We are becoming the people who we were meant to be, whether its in college, military, the workforce – or sitting at home watching Netflix,” she said jokingly.

Families of the 69 Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School graduates packed the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament for the commencement ceremony on Friday.

The students will study subjects ranging from pharmacy to nursing, journalism and medicine.

Some of the institutions where students will study include Bucknell, Juniata, Duquesne, Temple and Franciscan universities.

The students are receiving a combined $3.5 million in academic and merit scholarships, Principal Joan Donnelly said.

She said the class has distinguished itself from past classes academically.

On average, the class members earned eight high school credits above the average required by the state Department of Education, she said.

She said 60 percent of students were enrolled in Advanced Placement courses. And the class scored higher than classes of the past five years on aptitude tests.

Bishop Mark L. Bartchak, Sister Donna Marie Leiden, diocesan director of education, and Donnelly conferred diplomas to the students.

Valedictorian Kelsey Murgas addressed the crowd with a speech about holding memories close as she and her classmates pursue higher education and enter the workforce and the military. She urged her classmates to go about the next chapter in their lives expressing “faith, respect, love and service,” which they learned from their high school teachers.