I am so happy to be here to celebrate this exciting milestone with you! I want to start by thanking my parents for their enduring love, support, and all of their sacrifices through the years. I have received the most amazing Catholic education –thank you, Mom & Dad! I love you. I’d also like to thank the faculty and staff at Kolbe Academy for their tireless work, radiating a love of wisdom in our online classrooms, and always modeling a passion for Truth. As I reflected on what I wanted to say, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes by St. Pope John Paul II, where he encouraged the faithful: “to remember the past with gratitude, to live the present with enthusiasm, and to look forward to the future with confidence.”
It can be tempting to think of all the difficulties we experience in our lives, especially over the past couple of years, and to feel less than grateful, but what I have learned is that gratitude is the foundation of goodness and happiness. I have so much to be grateful for in my life; so many wonderful high school memories to treasure too. But, I wanted to share that I am especially grateful for the gift of music. The ability to play my cello has brought me an abundance of joy and has enriched my life beyond measure!
It’s fun to think about high school and all of the great memories we’ve made at Kolbe Academy...the fun pre-class chats, Adobe’s most recent updated-downgrade, all of those recitations...(remember the 20 lines from the Iliad our freshman year and then 108 lines of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” this year?) and those cool, but a little bit dangerous, chemistry experiments in the basement. I’ll remember these times like snapshots compiled into an album on my iPhone....okay, it’s not an iPhone, it’s a flip phone.... But, I’m still grateful. I have so many wonderful memories from attending Kolbe Academy and for me, they are all set to a soundtrack of Haydn, Bach, and Saint-Saëns playing in my mind.
Music has not only enriched my life by learning to play such a beautiful instrument, but it has contributed to the spiritual joy of my soul. The gift of music is a treasure of great value to me and I’m confident that it is a gift from God. Over the years, I’ve been so impressed by music's ability to make life so... vivid. For example, today, when we heard the first few chords of Pomp & Circumstance as we processed in, written by Edward Elgar, who was a famous composer most known for his cello concertos, we could feel something, emotions building, memories being made for some of us, and for others, memories flooding back from another time. You see, the gift of music is not just for musicians and singers; it’s for everyone! So, from now on, every time we hear that piece, we’ll think of today, we’ll see the faces of our family and friends, and we’ll feel the same sense of joy and happiness of being together to celebrate our accomplishments. Music is a gift from God to each one of us. I’m honored and so very grateful that He blessed me with this particular gift of being able to play the cello. Pray for me that I use it always, and for the greater glory of God.
As we all look back upon this day with gratitude, our memories will now be playing to the soundtrack of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance and the beautiful recessional, the Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare, by Strauss. Music is a gift that has the ability to make us smile or bring us to all types of tears. For all our days, and especially today, there is music! It seems Our Lord has offered me, and each of us, this gift: which is to remember this day with gratitude, live it with enthusiasm, and wherever our distinct vocational paths may lead to look toward that future with great confidence!
Thank you, God bless, & Congratulations class of 2022!
Katherine Elizabeth Ma
Kolbe Graduate, Class of 2022