From the Wilmette Beacon, June 3, 2019:
For members of the Regina Dominican Class of 2019, there was plenty of learning going on during a senior year filled with a little bit of everything. Dr. Kathleen Porreca was doing a fair share of learning herself in her first year as principal of the Wilmette school.
“This is a class of girls that are so talented in a variety of things. We’ve got talented artists, scientists, musicians. It was really brought home for me with the awarding of all the various medals,” Porreca said. “They’re also a group of girls that are very spirited.”
The 59 graduates were honored during a baccalaureate and commencement ceremony May 25 at the school’s O’Shaughnessy Theatre in Wilmette.
Graduates from Wilmette included Kaitlyn Burgess, Haixin Gao, Siyu Huang, Seong Eun Amber Kim, Elizabeth Loeher and Nora Reese.
Select students were recognized with honor chords, scholarships and other awards in a separate event prior to graduation.
As is tradition at Regina, a Mass began the ceremony with Rev. Peter Wojcik, director of parish vitality and mission at the Chicago Archdiocese and Regina chaplin, presiding.
Once the Mass concluded, the commencement celebration ceremony got underway as each graduate was presented with a white long-stem rose. Regina President Elizabeth Schuster made introductory remarks.
The senior orchestra, including members Lauren DiCiaula, Natalie Hamilton, Lisa Spaniak and Lindsey Whitehead, performed.
Kelley Rompza Kitley (Class of 1996), a social worker, gave the alumna medalist reflection. Assistant Principal Verna Allworth (Class of 1977) presented the graduates.
Later, Schuster was joined by David Berg, board of directors, and Porreca for the conferring of diplomas.
“The ceremony was just extraordinarily beautiful,” Porreca said. “They make everything very special for the girls and their families.”
For graduating seniors, any relatives that are Regina alumnae are encouraged to join the graduate on stage to present them with the diploma.
“One of our mottos is ‘Family for life,’ so I really enjoyed seeing those kinds of elements incorporated into the ceremony,” Porreca said. “It really reinforces again with graduation that generations of Regina girls are still associated with the school.”
Senior Elizabeth Gillespie was chosen by her peers to give the graduation address.
“This class had a lot of energy. A lot of times we would do things in our own way unlike other classes,” said Gillespie, who will attend the University of Chicago in the fall. “We were kind of wild.”
Following the ceremony, a celebration was held in the school’s cafeteria.