BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — No one could miss how students at St. Augustine Preparatory School felt about their alma mater on their last day here.

Graduation ceremonies Sunday gave them one last chance to brag.

“What is it that makes the prep so special?” graduating senior William Reeves asked in his farewell address to the Class of 2014. “It is excellence. We are the best.”

The school brought together young men from different school districts and municipalities throughout South Jersey and turned them into a family intent on proving themselves, he said.

“Each Hermit is best at something different,” said Reeves, referring to the name of the school’s athletic teams.

The 157 students in the graduating class can boast of $42 million in scholarships and grants during their four years at the school, said Rev. Donald F. Reilly, the school’s president. They also garnered more than 800 college acceptances, he said.

Reilly told those gathered on the lawn of the school that the graduates have a special confidence as they move on to college and various endeavors.

That confidence came from the values the students learned every day at the Catholic institution, he said.

“Thank you, graduates, for the love you have given to the prep,” Reilly said. “You will be missed.”

Some of the graduates missed part of their graduation ceremonies, but that was fine with school officials and their parents.

Six of the students got their diplomas early in the proceedings. They left early to join the rest of the school’s baseball team that was playing in a tournament.

The school gave “golden diplomas” to alumni who graduated 50 years ago. The class of 1964 was school’s second graduating class, which had 30 students. One of those graduates was William Gormley, a longtime state senator representing much of Atlantic County.

The all-male school, which was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine, has an enrollment of about 700 students.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

609-226-9197

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