Owensboro Catholic High graduates 96 seniors

Owensboro Catholic High School held its 73rd commencement Friday night, with the 96 seniors in the Class of 2024 receiving diplomas during the ceremony at the Owensboro Sportscenter.

The class overcame much adversity its freshman year, which coincided with the height of the COVID pandemic. While many schools cancelled in-person classes, Catholic remained open.

“When they started at Owensboro Catholic High School, they had plexiglass up dividing all of them, they had (plexiglass) up in the lunch room, everybody was supposed to stay 6 feet apart — it was a really not very fun experience,” OCHS Principal George Powell said.

“It’s not a great way to start your high school career.”

But the class didn’t let the challenge prevent it from reaching goals. And Powell has been particularly impressed with how the seniors grew into being role models for younger students at the school.

“They’ve been really good this year, and as the year has gone on, we’ve offered more opportunities for them to deepen their faith experiences here at the school, and they’ve fully taken advantage of that,” Powell said. “What they’ve done is they’ve kind of set a tone that it’s alright to participate in these different opportunities that we’re giving you. They kind of set that tone as a role model.”

Class member Spencer Harris started in Owensboro Catholic Schools as a kindergartner. He said he can’t overstate how much the education has meant to him.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better place to grow up,” he said. “It has been a phenomenal place. I couldn’t ask for better people to grow up with. I could never imagine being more supported by a community of people around me, whether it be my peers or my teachers having my back in any situation.”

Harris will attend Notre Dame in the fall, majoring in neuroscience and behavior, with the plan to go on to medical school.

“It’s been the dream school since I was probably 6 years old,” he said.

“I grew up as a UK fan; I bleed blue and all of that, but there was always something special to me about the Irish.

“They’ve always been my secondary team.

“When it got closer to making college decisions and I knew kind of where I fell academically, I knew Notre Dame was a realistic possibility, and the more I learned about it the more I fell in love with it.”

Harris said he’ll take many memories from his time in high school, but a recent trip with 18 classmates stands out.

“Our senior boys retreat in the late winter, early spring, really was just life changing,” he said.

“This school has done a phenomenal job of building my faith life, and making sure I have an intimate relationship with the Lord.”

Lucia Hernando Andres, a foreign exchange student from Spain, received her diploma after spending the past two years at Owensboro Catholic.

“I’m feeling proud, because I know the experiences I made,” she said. “I think it’s the best experience I’ve ever had in my life. Catholic (High) is like a family, where everyone knows you really well. I don’t think it’s like that at a lot of schools. I like that it’s smaller.”

Andres will be returning to Spain soon before heading to college in the Canary Islands. She said her transition into Catholic High should help her be prepared for entering college.

“At the beginning (after coming here), I was so scared,” she said.

“It wasn’t any problem with the people here. I was so scared because I felt like everyone would say something about me.

“But the first time I met everyone, everyone was so nice to me, wanting to know more about Spain and the culture.

“This is a great place.”