The Donahue Catholic Academy of Ave Maria Parish celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass and 16th Commencement Exercises for its 18 graduating seniors on May 26, 2023. Donahue Principal Dr. Daniel Guernsey opened the procession of graduates before the Mass, celebrated at Ave Maria Parish, by playing the bagpipes, a yearly tradition. The graduates then processed in, each carrying a white rose which was then placed in a vase before a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was the main celebrant.
Following Mass, the festivities moved to the nearby school, with the graduation taking place in the gymnasium. In addition to family and friends, students from the middle and high school were present for the presentation of diplomas. Andrew Graham was the class Valedictorian and Michael Long was the Salutatorian. Father David Vidal, Ave Maria Parish Pastor, offered the opening prayer. In addition, Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocese of Venice Superintendent of Catholic Education, offered the final blessing. The group earned an impressive $1.9 million in scholarship offers and each is going on to attend a Catholic university in the fall.