Sue Sonnier Named 2024 Honorary Graduate

Honorary Graduate 2024 (1)


Welcome parents, as this week we celebrate everything that makes Catholic Schools great. Today, we celebrate our parents, and we are so pleased to see so many families here today.

At this time, we are proud to announce a special award that St. Cecilia Catholic School traditionally presents during Catholic Schools Week – our “Honorary Graduate”.

Being named an “Honorary Graduate” represents a special distinction that sets this individual apart from others in that his or her dedication to St. Cecilia Catholic School and students throughout the years exemplifies the qualities of a committed supporter of Catholic education, and specifically of our school.

Honorary Graduates have not only distinguished themselves as supporters of the school community, but also have left their mark on the school. An indelible mark that will not be soon forgotten.

Today’s award will be given to someone who has been a Catholic educator for some 40 years, but who’s counting? You know, this educator would likely say about that, what’s in a number? Isn’t it quality over quantity? You know, as this is written, I’m not so sure. Today’s honorary graduate would say, are we talking about works of art or saving souls? If it is saving souls, then it must be quantity over quality? Maybe. Now that I think about it, this educator would probably put the question to the test, with zeal. If you knew this educator, you know why a former colleague said of them, “she would save the Devil if she could.”

If you know this educator, you would probably agree. And this educator would do it with such passion, thinking, praying, working the problem over until the course is illuminated. And, wouldn’t stop until the voyage is complete. Devil, stay away from this one or we may have to rewrite Revelations.

Today’s honorary graduate is mission-driven, believing in faith and acts, works of mercy, respect for life, social justice, you know, a real rabble-rouser. Some may look sideways at the term rabble-rouser, but we think she would wear it with pride, proclaiming with a nod, “That’s right, and Jesus was a rabble-rouser, so I’ll be like him!”

As teachers, and particularly as Catholic school teachers, we always say we are sewing seeds, and that these lessons of our faith planted now will one day come to fruition. Today’s honorary graduate will one day look back at a celestial orchard of souls left stronger in the spiritual fertilizer that is her presence. She is reflective, always seeing the good in kids that are the most challenging, and isn’t afraid to take time to make sure they see it, too. And isn’t afraid to admit when she is wrong and change course. It is nearly impossible to say how many kids have been impacted by this teacher- actually, that isn’t right. It is possible, we just need her class counts from a lifetime of teaching religion.
This educator has made it her campus ministry to enliven the hearts and souls of her students, and co-workers. Perhaps it is no surprise that she has helped found and improve campus ministry programs, Rayne or shine. St. Thomas More or St. Cecilia. Whether she asked for permission, or asked for forgiveness.

Today’s Honorary Graduate has influenced the development of the school’s mission, has been an ardent supporter of the idea of spiritual retreat for our community, and honestly just makes each of us who know her, a better person for having known her. Kind of like the Kevin Bacon effect of grace. We are all hoping it rubs off on us.

This speech could be pages. If you haven’t guessed who it is yet, here’s a few more hints. Living Way of the Cross. Peace Day. Day of Service. Building Bridges. Texas Tour. Getting teachers out of their comfort zone to present at staff retreats, right Maggie? She has accomplished things that others would not have even tried, because it was too much effort.

But effort is what it takes. And her efforts have been appreciated. And her efforts have been extraordinary. And her efforts have not been in vain, but will live on past her and without her. And she, I know, is happy with that.

Today’s Honorary Graduate has been a member of our school community for 10 years, but those 10 years are worth a lifetime. It brings us great joy to confer this honor upon her.

Without further ado, St. Cecilia Catholic School is extremely proud to present this year’s “2024 Honorary Graduate” award to Sue Sonnier!