Local News Archive
Print Issue: June 4, 1998Saint Pius Graduation
ATLANTA--Principal Donald Sasso presented the 237 members of the Class of 1998 of St. Pius X High School May 23 to Archbishop John F. Donoghue and Catholic school Superintendent Sandra Smith.
The 40th annual commencement exercises were held in Symphony Hall of the Woodruff Arts Center where the graduates received their diplomas and awards were given to outstanding members of the senior class and to faculty and alumni.
The Archbishops Award, recognizing a high degree of service to school, parish and community, and academic success in the study of religion, was given to John Piede, the son of Robert and Irene Piede of All Saints Church, Dunwoody, and to Kristin Kramer, the daughter of Steve and Sally Kramer of Holy Cross Church, Atlanta.
Anne Margaret Huss, the daughter of John and Anne Huss of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, was valedictorian of the class and Joseph Hooper, the son of Charles and Marci Hooper of Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Atlanta, was class salutatorian.
For their outstanding academic achievements, the valedictorian and salutatorian each received the Cornelius L. Maloney Award, named in honor of the priest-educator who guided the establishment of St. Pius High School in the 1950s.
Huss also received the Journal Cup, sponsored by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which is given to the best all-around senior student in the judgment of the faculty.
Two seniors were selected by the principal for special recognition of their quiet, unsung leadership in the Christian ideals of the school. For their strength, spirit and Christian example through love and service, Meghan Reda, the daughter of William and Mary Ellen Reda of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Atlanta, and James Turner, the son of Sid and Barbara Turner of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, received the Principals Award.
St. Pius Citizenship Medals for outstanding and ethical leadership were given to Ashley LaBudde, the daughter of Bruce and Diane LaBudde of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Smyrna, and Paul Banks, the son of Paul and Aurelia Banks of Decatur.
LaBudde was also named the outstanding female athlete of the Class of 1998. The outstanding male athlete was Marvis Jenkins, the son of Sheryl Jenkins of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Decatur.
Star Student Kelly Rader, the daughter of Nancy Radar of Corpus Christi Church, Stone Mountain, chose Father Richard Lopez as Star Teacher.
The Carter L. Stout Service Award was given to student council co-presidents Ryan Kennedy, the son of James and Christine Kennedy of St. Stephen Mission, Lilburn, and Glen Iannucci, the son of Joseph and Sharon Iannucci of All Saints, Dunwoody.
Rashard Longino was recognized as a commended scholar in the National Achievement Scholarship Program. National Merit Scholarship finalists were Leigh-Ann Campbell, Matt Davis, Jennifer Frapwell, Anne Margaret Huss, Glen and Ryan Iannucci, Kristin Kramer, Kathleen Minor, Jonathan Opraseuth, Kelly Rader and Sarah Jane Ree. Matthew Litsey was a semi-finalist.
The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Rear Admiral Robert E. Besal, a 1968 St. Pius graduate, one of nine children of Robert and Helen Besal.
Married and the father of two daughters, Rear Admiral Besal received his commission in 1972 through Naval ROTC at Auburn University and has since flown over 4,000 hours in tactical aircraft. He served in attack squadrons eighty-two, seventy-five and sixty-five. He was commanding officer of attack squadron seventy-five during Operation Desert Storm over Iraq. He later commanded the replenishment oiler USS Savannah for 27 months and the aircraft carrier USS America during her final operational deployment in the Mediterranean and Middle East. He has earned two Distinguished Flying Cross Awards and the Bronze Star.
English teacher Charlotte Smith, a 1963 graduate of St. Pius herself, was chosen by a vote of the faculty as Teacher of the Year. In addition to her 11 years of dedicated service as a teacher, she also has served as a cheerleading moderator, class moderator and faculty representative to the home and school association and brought to her work her quiet but formidable inner strength and character. She and her family belong to St. John Neumann Church. Lilburn.
An academic chair in memory of Charles Loridans, to affirm the importance of classroom teaching, was awarded for the first time to Dr. Wright Vermilya of the St. Pius X math department. The fellowship, which provides a financial supplement for a period of five years, recognizes superior classroom teaching. The St. Pius Loridans Fellow will also participate with other Atlanta awardees in gatherings to discuss issues of mutual concern and to plan programs for area educators.
The fellowship is awarded through the Charles Loridans Foundation, established by the late French native who came to the U.S. in 1899, served as French consul in Atlanta and was a strong supporter of the arts and the High Museum.