BILOXI -- St. Patrick Catholic High School's graduates received a healthy dose of selflessness and fortitude Friday.
Valedictorian Eric Million and salutatorian Kathleen McMackin urged their fellow Fighting Irish to consider others when they head out into the real world, but also to stay true to themselves.
Prior to walking the halls of St. Patrick for the last time, Million reflected on his daily runs with the cross-country team.
Not always fun, the runs were symbolic of the mettle his classmates will need once they leave St. Patrick.
"We've been taught what we believe in already," he said. "Now we need to go on with that and hold firm in our beliefs."
McMackin, an aspiring environmental engineer, encouraged her classmates to make every moment matter.
"Make every little thing you do matter, and in turn make other peoples' lives matter and your own life matter," she said. "Just make the world matter."
She advised her classmates to start with the small things.
"Then go onto bigger things and by getting into the habit of making things matter, you make your life and the lives of those around you more meaningful," she said.
The Most Reverend Roger P. Morin, bishop of the diocese of Biloxi, evoked a few moments of laughter during his homily as he recalled his youth, growing up in the Catholic faith and even what was considered popular music at the time.
He challenged the graduates to think about their futures and how they're affected by God's calling.
"Each one of you is called in a particular and a unique way in the building of God's kingdom here on Earth," he said.
St. Patrick's ninth class is its largest yet. The 89 graduates racked up a total of $4.9 million in scholarships.