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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dr. Scott Fike, DeSales principal, offers his congratulations to Salutatorian 
Morgan Rippe and Valedictorian Harmon Smith as they prepare for their 
graduation from DeSales Catholic School. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
The Class of 2015 at DeSales Catholic School will complete their final exams this week, and commemorate the end of elementary school with a stylish social, and a Graduation Mass at St. John the Baptist Church.

Students in grades 1 - 8 will kick off their summer with outdoor Field Day events provided by the DeSales Home School Association. Kindergarten and Preschool students will show what they've learned during special presentations for their families.

DeSales Kindergarten students shared songs and memories with their parents and grandparents at a special program on Thursday. Teachers Candy Chase and Ann Kraatz were very proud of all that the students accomplished.  The 3- and 4-year-old students in Elaine Thompson and Jan Shipley's Early Childhood classes will host a family picnic this week with hot dogs and other summertime treats to share with their parents and siblings.  The picnic will be held in the school cafeteria, and provides an opportunity for parents to thank the two teachers, along with classroom aide Debbie Klee, for their kindness and dedication to the students.

Tuesday, students in grades 6 - 8 will enjoy Field Day activities at Lockport Country Club's pool, and younger students will be treated to entertainment, games and inflatable fun on the school's Les Dugan Field.   Later that evening, the 8th-grade students will dress up for a garden reception with their parents, followed by an 8th grade social in the school's board room, the gracious space that was once a part of the Harrison family home.

June 25th is Graduation Day, which begins with a breakfast honoring the class of 2015 and their families, hosted by volunteers from the H.S.A.. Class of 2015 Salutatorian Morgan Rippe, the daughter of Mike and Bridget Rippe of Lockport, will address her classmates at the breakfast.

When asked to reflect on her years at DeSales, Rippe said she sees "my home away from home, my family that's not blood, and a background in my faith and knowledge that I will hold with me forever." She will attend Lockport High School in September. A Graduation Mass at St. John's begins at 7 p.m. Reverend Joseph E. Vatter, pastor of St. Paul's parish in Kenmore, and the former Canonical Administrator for DeSales, will return to celebrate Mass with the students he served as a spiritual leader and friend.

The top scholar in the class of 2015 is Harmon Smith, the son of Lenny and Rachel Smith of Lockport. While considering what he will say in his Valedictory Address, Smith was grateful for how "DeSales has helped me and my classmates grow in faith under the guidance of our dedicated teachers."  Harmon will enroll at Cardinal O'Hara High School in the Fall.

Members of the DeSales High School Class of 1965 will be honored guests at the Mass, during which they will receive honorary diplomas commemorating the 50th Anniversary of their own DeSales graduation. Guest Speaker at Graduation will be Dr. Patrick Danna, a Lockport native and member of the DeSales class of 2001. Dr. Danna is a graduate of Canisius College and UB Dental School, and now practices General Dentistry in Lockport.

Dr. Scott C. Fike, Principal, noted that the end of elementary school is always bittersweet. “As I watch the class of 2015 prepare to graduate from DeSales, I will miss those families who will be leaving us with their youngest child.  At the same time, I am thrilled for these young men and women. We are sending them off to face the challenges of high school, fully prepared academically, with confidence in themselves and a strong faith foundation upon which they can always rely."

The 32 members of the DeSales Class of 2015 will move on to success in public and private high schools across the region, including Akron, Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, Cardinal O’Hara, Chesterton Academy, Lockport, Mount St. Mary Academy, Royalton-Hartland, St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, and Starpoint High School. Members of this year's class earned $75,000 in high school scholarship awards.

DeSales is Eastern Niagara County’s only Catholic School, serving over 300 students in Early Childhood Education through Eighth grade.  For more information call 433-6422 or visit

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