HTC grads start stopwatch on the rest of their lives

HTC grads give the traditional cap toss Sunday outside Holy Trinity Catholic High School. Twenty-three seniors moved their tassles signifying the end of their high school careers. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC


FORT MADISON – The keynote speaker at Sunday’s Holy Trinity Catholic’s graduation ceremony challenged the class to not procrastinate….the stopwatch has started.

Matt Mohrfeld, a 1974 graduate of Marquette High School and a member of the local Catholic School system since his childhood, told the 23 members of the HTC graduating class of 2019 that the stopwatch has started and they need not think about the days remaining in their life, but the life remaining in their days.

Elyse Pothitakis and Katie Scoville were named co-valedictorians and Sam Avery was named the class salutatorian.

Seniors Katie Scoville and Mya Lawlor leave the ceremony for the HTC graduation Sunday afternoon at the Holy Trinity Catholic High School.

Pothitakis challenged her classmates to take risks in their lives that lead to greater contributions and success.

“Take mistakes in stride. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We are young and it’s our time to try new things and, making mistakes will allow us to discover who we are. Take those risks and challenge yourselves,” she said.

“Fellow classmates, I encourage you today to embrace the opportunity before you and think fondly of your high school years and move forward with confidence and joy.”

Scoville quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson in telling her classmates to blaze new paths yet untraveled, but never forget the relationships and support of the faculty, friends and parents forged over the past 12 years.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” she quoted.

“I will never forget my high school, my parents, and those that made it wonderful.”

She said it takes a village to raise a child, and she said Holy Trinity has been that village for her and her classmates.

“Our hard work and dedication have finally paid off. We have arrived,” she said.

Mohrfeld gave the students 15 challenges including staying healthy, avoiding rap – the music..and the sandwiches.

1974 Marquette High School graduate and Fort Madison businessman Matt Mohrfeld gives the graduation address to seniors at the Holy Trinity Catholic graduation Sunday afternoon. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg

He cautioned them on the vices of life, but encouraged them to live and dream.

“Have a beer with your best friend, but don’t ever make beer your best friend. The number one way to an unhappy life is through addiction and dependence,” he said.

“But dream big. Dream like Steve Jobs…dream big. Dream of things you want to be part of. If you want to dig ditches, dream of digging a great ditch, because there is no dream any less important than any other dream.”

He said take small steps toward the big dream. But he said don’t be afraid to fail.

“People will tell you to be a success, I’m going to tell you to fail. If you’re going to achieve big, you have to fail. Fail early, fail often and get back to work.”

HTC Activities Director John Goetz hands graduating senior Yulu Zhang a pair of nunchuks as part of Principal Michael Sheerin’s senior address Sunday afternoon.

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