Sam Wonsiewicz wheels a load of food donated during a drive at Central Catholic High School. (Courtesy Central Catholic High School)
Sam Wonsiewicz wheels a load of food donated during a drive at Central Catholic High School. (Courtesy Central Catholic High School)
Baccalaureate for the Central Catholic High School class of 2022 is set for Friday, June 3, 1 p.m. at Central Catholic, 2401 SE Stark St. in Portland. Graduation is Monday, June 6, 6 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium, 4450 NE Century Blvd., Hillsboro.

Resilience, perseverance and selflessness. Those are words that surfaced over and over with faculty and staff when asked about Central Catholic’s graduating class.

For the 198 students in the class of 2022, the high school experience wasn’t quite what they’d envisioned when they first walked through the halls as freshmen four years ago. A year and a half into their high school careers, the COVID-19 pandemic would forever alter their school experience.

“This was foisted upon them. They didn’t have a choice,” says Paul O’Malley, Central Catholic’s director of admissions, reflecting on the class of 2022’s experience throughout the pandemic. “The only thing they could choose was how they reacted to it, and they reacted to it with heart, resilience, and determination.”

Colin McGinty, Central Catholic’s president, concurs. “What I have learned from this class is their ability to be creative, to persevere, and how resilient they truly are,” he says.

In the face of uncertainty and upheaval the graduates still found time to give selflessly. They volunteered and donated to help those in need in the community. Over the course of their time at Central Catholic, the students have contributed to donating more than 20,000 sack lunches to local organizations and 5,000 boxes of food to food pantries in the Archdiocese of Portland.

“The selflessness that they showed towards others, their willingness to pitch in, to donate their time, donate meals without food —” McGinty says then pauses. “This is what I will remember from our students throughout the pandemic.”