Graduation 2023

Congratulations to the Class of 2023, now graduates of Padua Academy! We could not have asked for more beautiful weather on June 5th for our Commencement Ceremony for the 66th Graduating Class of Padua Academy at Abessinio Stadium.
As Pomp and Circumstance filled the stadium, our 130 graduates, faculty, staff, board of trustee members, Father Mark Wrightson and Most Rev. William E. Koenig, DD, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington processed in. The diplomas were conferred by Bishop Koenig and Dr. Mary McClory, Principal. Daryl Fernandez started us off with a welcoming and opening prayer. Rachel Smookler delivered the Salutatory address, next Trish Srikanth spoke as the Academic Excellence Award recipient, and our valedictorian Shannon Salerni addressed the faculty, students, and families. Nora Higley ended with a parent appreciation address.

The Class of 2023 earned over $20 million in scholarships.  (89 students have reported receiving over $20 million in scholarships.  We value and respect the privacy of the remaining 41 students who chose not to disclose their scholarship information.)

Academic Awards:
  • The Padua Academy Valedictorian Award and The Wilmington Friends of Italian Culture Award, in memory of Rev. Mario Bugliosi, for excellence in the study of Italian and The Padua Academy Award for excellence in the study of Spanish -  Shannon Rebecca Salerni
  • The Padua Academy Salutatorian Award and The Robert E. Potter, Jr. Memorial Award for excellence in the study of Social Studies - Rachel Marie Smookler
  • The Padua Academy Academic Excellence Award and The Padua Academy Award for excellence in the study of Mathematics - Trisha Raji Srikanth 
  • The Rev. Joseph L. McCoy Award for excellence in the study of English and The Wilmington Friends of Italian Culture Award for excellence in the study of Music - Anna Lucia Szczerba
  • The Padua Academy Award for excellence in the study of Science - Hanlei Zheng
  • The Knights of Columbus, St. Pius Council Award in honor of Brother Michael Rosenello, for excellence in Religious Studies and The Padua Academy Award for excellence in the study of French - Stephanie Marquez Ng
  • The Padua Academy Media Arts Award for outstanding skill, development, and leadership over the last four years in the Communication Arts program - Sophia Grace Correale
  • The Knights of Columbus, St. Pius X Council Award, in memory of Rev. Mario Bugliosi, for excellence in the Study of Art - Bethany Moraa Makori
  • The Padua Academy Award for excellence in the study of Technology - Katherine Grace Corbo
  • The Knights of Columbus, St. Pius X Council Award, in memory of Rev. Mario Bugliosi, for excellence in the Study of Digital Art - Milagro Anna Migliore

The following students have merited honorable mention in these subject areas.  We ask that the students stand to be recognized and remain standing until all names have been announced.  Please hold your applause until all of the names have been called.
  • In Religious Studies – Anna Lucia Szczerba
  • In English – Trisha Raji Srikanth
  • In Mathematics – Hanlei Zheng
  • In Science – Qinyi Wang
  • In Social Studies – Shannon Rebecca Salerni
  • In French – Trisha Raji Srikanth
  • In Italian – Amanda Marie DeFrehn
  • In Spanish – Allison Ruth Barkasy and Anna Lucia Szczerba
  • In Music – Elizabeth Eleanor Rolph
Graduation Awards:

The Sarah Smith Memorial Award
The Smith family developed a scholarship fund in the memory of Sarah Smith, Class of 2013. The Sarah Smith Memorial Scholarship recognizes a graduating senior who has consistently demonstrated a strong work- ethic in her high school studies and is an exemplary model of Padua Academy values.
The recipient is: Sarah Grace Ciocco 


Knights of Columbus Award
The Knights of Columbus call Catholics to live out the Gospel by showing charity to those in need who are part of our everyday lives.  The Knights of Columbus Award, in honor of their founder and chaplain Father Roberto Balducelli, is given to a Padua Academy graduate who has faithfully demonstrated a heart of charity to those in need among us.  
This award is merited by : Milagro Anna Migliore


Softly but Strongly Award
The Padua Academy motto, Suaviter Sed Fortiter, is translated from Latin as “Softly but Strongly.” Our motto defines the qualities of a Padua Academy graduate, who is nurturing and responsive to the uniqueness of others while remaining purposeful and determined. 

The Suaviter Sed Fortiter Award is merited by: Allison Ruth Barkasy 


The Brother Michael Rosenello Award
Since the earliest days of Padua Academy, Bro. Michael Rosenello has served the school with humble dedication.  Every task he was asked to complete, no matter how big or how small, was done in loving service to support the students and mission of Padua Academy.  The Bro. Michael Rosenello Award is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated extraordinary service to Padua Academy.  

This award is merited by: Kaitlin Grace Duppel


The “Abbi Coraggio” Award
(In honor of the Class of 2020) “Abbi Corggio” is the Italian phrase for “to have courage.” This award, established to recognize the Class of 2020 and their response to the pandemic with an attitude of possibility and a commitment to move forward, recognizes a graduating senior who best exhibits the qualities of dedication, resilience and adaptability. 

The recipient of this award is: Emery Gomez


The Heart of Service Award
The Heart of Service Award is awarded to a student who has consistently shown a remarkable dedication to serving others and making a positive impact in her community. This exceptional individual has gone above and beyond, selflessly devoting time, energy, and talents to benefit others. Her commitment to service goes beyond occasional acts of kindness; it is ingrained in her daily choices. Her genuine care for others extends to make an impact on our school and her community.

The recipient of this award is: Qinyi Wang


Padua Academy Award for Community Inclusion and Acceptance
This award is given to the senior who most exemplifies the Padua Cultural Norms, which were established by alumnae. This student has continually acted out of love and validated the experiences of others by listening to, respecting, and celebrating the many diverse perspectives and identities in our community. They have stepped out of their comfort zone by being curious and eager to expand their own knowledge and have educated and encouraged others to do the same. Most importantly, this student has been a role model for inclusion and acceptance in the Padua community and beyond. 

The recipient of this award is: Chelsea Ly Lam 


Student Council Leadership Award
The Student Council award is presented to those who demonstrated outstanding leadership skills and a strong commitment to Padua Academy. They have consistently exhibited exceptional school leadership, serving as positive role models for their peers. In addition the recipients embody the lived pillars of Padua Academy, Spirituality, Sisterhood, Service, and Scholarship. 

This award  is merited by:
 Shannon Marie Finney
 Bridget Grace Furlong
 Milagro Anna Migliore
 Rachel Marie Smookler


St. Francis of Assisi Award
St. Francis of Assisi is one of the patrons of Padua Academy.  St. Francis lived a life of hospitality- an openness to the good in all creation and a willingness to accept everyone as a gift from our Creator.  As a school community, we embrace his call to “Preach the Gospel at all times.  If necessary, use words.”

This award for meritorious service to church, school and community is merited by: Anna Lucia Szczerba


The St. Francis de Sales Award
The Oblates of St. Francis de Sales provide spiritual support for the students at Padua Academy.  As an Oblate community, each year at graduation, we present a Medal of St. Francis de Sales to a graduating senior. We recognize a graduate who through her gifts and talents shares the love of Jesus with the school community every day and embodies the words of St. Francis de Sales – “Be who you are and be that well”. 

At the recommendation of the administration, faculty, and staff of Padua Academy we have selected: Molly Reynolds Fink to receive this award.


Board of Trustees Annual Award, presented by Mrs. Maria Panella, President of the Padua Academy Board of Trustees
On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Padua Academy, it is my privilege to present our annual award.  The recipient was selected upon the recommendation of the administration, faculty and staff of Padua Academy. In choosing a graduate for this award, we asked that the following criteria be met: strong personal spirituality, social awareness and social responsibility, integrity, courage, kindness, and compassion, and exceptional dedication to Padua Academy. In short, the student who best exemplifies all that Padua Academy has come to represent. 

It is my pleasure to announce this year’s recipient: Bridget Sarita Casey

Spirituality. Scholarship. Service. Sisterhood.