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story.lead_photo.caption (India Garrish/News Tribune) Helias Catholic High School students throw their caps in the air after graduating Sunday during their ceremony. Although rain was expected, sunny skies and a high of 87 shone down on the graduates.

Helias Catholic High School recognized the 147 graduates of the Class of 2021 Sunday at Ray Hentges Stadium.

Ninety-two percent of the graduating class is pursuing post-secondary education, seven graduates are going directly into the workforce, five will be joining the military and one will be attending the seminary.

Principal Kenya Fuemmeler said Helias adopted the word "hope" for the 2021 school year.

"We knew only through hope and the Lord could we chapel one of the most challenging school years with so many unknown obstacles before us," she said in her opening remarks. "Today, as we celebrate the Class of 2021, this hope remains. We have such hope in your futures as graduates of Helias Catholic High School."

The speaker at Sunday's ceremony was Maureen Quinn, a Helias Catholic campus minister and theology teacher who is moving into a new position this summer with the Diocese of Jefferson City as director of youth ministry and religious education.

Quinn told the graduates while the road to this day has not been easy, they persevered and made it through.

"I have watched you over the past four years become amazing people through the love of God, your family, friends and your teachers here at Helias," she said. "You've forged friendships that will last a lifetime. You poured out your hearts in music and song, you mastered knowledge of subjects you may never need again, you won some big games and some state championships, and you shared with and cared for each other without thinking twice."

She advised the graduates to take their "mercy, courage, grace and hope" with them wherever they go, and do what they were born to do — "help each other, no matter how difficult it is."

"Life is good when you are happy, but much better when others are happy because of you," she said. "Let us remember that pain is a sign that we are alive, problems are a sign that we are strong, and prayer is a sign that we are not alone. If you can acknowledge these truths and condition our hearts and minds, our lives will be more meaningful, different and worthwhile."

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The Class of 2021 includes 10 students with 4.0 grade point averages; three students who each completed more than 500 hours of community service; 13 Bright Flight scholars and one student, Cole Brunnert, who is a Top 100 Missouri Scholar.

Fifty-four of the graduates are accepting A+ scholarships. The graduates were offered more than $4 million in scholarships combined, including $275,000 in A+ scholarships.

The Class of 2021 has performed a combined total of 10,000 hours of service over their four years.

Three seniors completed more than 500 hours of community service each: Troy Ludwig, Kaitlyn Buker and John Paul McGuire.

Superintendent Erin Vader presented a medal to each valedictorian Sunday. Justin Francka and Brooke Godbee were recognized for receiving the Veterans of Foreign Wars Award; Dominic Crisostomo and Audrey Ickes were recognized for receiving the American Legion Citation; and Troy Ludwig and Katelyn Farr were recognized for receiving the Father Helias Award.

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