“Somebody has called your name, somebody is calling you to something greater,” is what greeted the Reading Memorial High School (RMHS) class of 2018 as they began their Baccalaureate Service on Thursday, May 31. The event, sponsored by the Reading Clergy Association, was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading and was referred to by Superintendent John Doherty as, “One of the last learning experiences of [the class of 2018’s] high school career.” Reverend Jaime Michaels of the Old South United Methodist Church opened the annual service by leading the congregation in the singing of the African-American spiritual hymn, “Hush, Hush, Somebody is Calling My Name” which highlighted the message of the evening that these graduates are called to make the world a greater place.
Rabbi Bart Perlman reminded the graduates that, “Your parents and teachers have laid the foundation for you. Your class can see farther, dream bigger, [and] achieve more than any generation that has preceded you.” He then offered the blessing, “May you see the day when war and bloodshed cease. May you be the makers of peace that will embrace the whole world. May you realize that you have not come into being to hate.”
The evening was highlighted by several performances by the RMHS chorus and by reflections made by three members of the class of 2018. Senior Natalie Lovvoll reflected, “RMHS has taught me to make time for what I genuinely want to do.”
Senior Emily Cain spoke about how her faith and her internship at Winchester Hospital have helped her determine her direction in life, “My relationship with God has taught me crucial lessons such as giving back to those around you,” Cain stated, “The church has shown me that I get the most joy out of helping others.”
Senior Jill D’Allessio continued the senior reflections with, “I have found my faith to be a sense of comfort and motivation to make the right decisions. Through faith, our situation gets better.”
The service concluded with Reverend Lisa Stedman of the First Congregational Church of Reading giving the commissioning. “No matter what you think God is,” Stedman counseled, “You are beloved of God.” Stedman then guided the parents in a blessing of the students in the class. The service closed with an affirmation by the class of 2018 and a benediction from Rabbi Greg Hersh of Wakefield. After the ceremony, the Reading Clergy Association sponsored an ice cream social for the graduating class in the church hall.