Seniors from Catholic high schools throughout region gathered at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul May 23 for an annual event celebrating their academic achievements.

Some 129 distinguished scholars from 30 Archdiocesan and private Catholic secondary schools gathered for the 43rd Annual Academic Honors Convocation, a ceremony hosted by the archdiocesan Office for Catholic Education.

Most Reverend Michael J. Fitzgerald, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, who oversees Catholic Education in the archdiocese, presided at the Liturgy of the Word.

He was joined by Dr. Brooke C. Tesche, Superintendent of Secondary Schools and Schools of Special Education; Mrs. Nancy Kurtz, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools; and supporters of Catholic education.

The students, all of whom are ranked in the top 3% of their senior class, were honored for their intellectual talents and gifts and dedication to their studies. A video featuring the names of honorees was released on Facebook prior to the celebration:

In speaking to the students, Bishop Fitzgerald pointed to how “our achievements are never totally our own” and many people help along the way “starting with the Lord himself.”

“Of course, we include in that recognition your families who have sacrificed so that you might receive a Catholic education and your teachers, as well as the administrators and staff of your various high schools who have led you and accompanied you in your academic pursuits,” said Bishop Fitzgerald.

Of those individuals recognized, 12 students are also in the Connelly Foundation’s Neumann Scholars Program. Initiated in 1995, this scholarship program identifies academically talented eighth grade students through an independently administered competitive examination and provides four-year scholarships to attend any Archdiocesan high school.

For more information on Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit

(Photo Courtesy of Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools/Sarah Webb)