She was asked to deliver three bits of wisdom to the graduates at St. Paul High School, but Bobbi Hudberg settled on three promises instead:
“One, there is no ‘supposed to be’ in life,” she said. “If you leave this building thinking your life is supposed to be this or supposed to be that, you’ll be hit with disappointments.”
Two: “In every turn, in every relationship, in every circumstance, there are moments of learning.”
And three: “You’ve got to hold on to the passion that you have.”
This last bit, Hudberg promised, was the quality that would set St. Paul graduates apart from so many others for the rest of their journeys.
A small, parochial school with just 49 students in the Class of 2009, Norwalk’s St. Paul High School has set itself apart for one thing above all else, said graduating senior Tyler Hayes: “We stick together as a family. It may sound cliché or generic, but there is no inner conflict in this class, at all.”
That’s to be expected from a graduating class this small, but it goes much deeper than that if you ask folks like Hudberg, who taught English at the school for one year — the freshman year of the Class of 2009.
“They have heart and loyalty,” Hudberg said. “They welcomed me in and captured my heart.”
Although she moved on to teach elsewhere, Hudberg made a grand impression in one year at St. Paul — the senior class asked her to be the guest speaker at Sunday’s graduation ceremony.
The handsome, mammoth cathedral that dominates Norwalk’s East Main Street served as ground zero for the students who gathered Sunday for what was likely to be the last time as a whole.
“As we let go of St. Paul, a piece of our heart will break,” said valedictorian Miranda Allen. “Moving on with the rest of our lives starts with goodbye.”
While a few students stifled cries, it was the parents who were seized by the occasion.
“She’s the youngest of my four kids,” said Grace Whitehurst, whose daughter, Katherine, received the Bishop’s Cross along with senior Ian Miller.
The Bishop’s Cross is the church’s highest award for parochial students who demonstrate their faith through knowledge and action.
Drawing a deep breath and fighting back tears, Grace Whitehurst summed up her daughter’s graduating class like this: “They’re faith-filled kids. They’re not afraid to stand up for what they believe.”
49 total seniors graduating (declared)
Alll going to college, except one in military
$500,000 to $750,000 in scholarships
High School: 250 students