Driver also talked about the accomplishments of the Class of 2013, plus memories of good times with her classmates.

"Sometimes all you need is someone to remind you that nothing is permanent," she said. "Don't take our memories at John Carroll for granted; don't dismiss our high school years, but take pride in what we have done and laugh at the fun times we had."

Valedictorian Claire Zurkowski spoke about Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken," which she said "offers the best inspiration to embrace change."

Zurkowski said Frost's famed work tells the story of "a speaker standing in the front of two equally indefinite paths covered in leaves. He debates which trail to take, knowing that in the future he will run into more circumstances where he must make a blind decision."

She cited the last stanza of the poem, which states: "I shall be telling this with a sigh/Somewhere ages and ages hence/Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one less traveled by/And that has made all the difference."

Zurkowski stressed the poem does not indicate whether the speaker made the right choice.

"Frost is not saying that we must take a road less traveled and be just like him," she explained. "Rather, the speaker is saying that in order for us to go and make a difference, we must look back on these choices out of our understanding and see that our gut feeling prompted us for a reason."

Graduation speaker

Vickie Ensor Bands, a 1975 graduate of John Carroll, was the winner of this year's Reverend Charles K. Riepe Alumni Award, and Saturday's graduation speaker.

Bands is director of community outreach and executive director of the HealthLink Primary Care Clinic for Upper Chesapeake Health.

School President Richard O'Hara said the annual award, named for John Carroll's first president, "recognizes John Carroll graduates who have demonstrated outstanding life achievement and community service."

"Vickie leads a vital effort through which health screenings, educational programs and primary medical care are made available to families and individuals in Harford and Cecil counties, many of whom are underinsured, uninsured, or homeless," O'Hara said of Bands.

Before she launched into her speech, Bands had the graduates pat themselves on the back, then stand and face the audience.

"I want you to turn around and I want you to face those people in those stands," she said. "I want you to look at your parents, your grandparents, your aunt, your friends, whoever made it possible for you to be here and I want to hear the biggest, 'Thank you,' on three."

Bands went on to impart the life lessons she had learned to the graduates, and used a jar and various objects to illustrate how to set priorities and to fill their lives with the truly important things.

"Please remember to give back more than you take from this life, and don't blame your parents for everything that goes wrong in your life!" she exclaimed.

Campus Minister Patti Murphy Dohn invited the graduates to take the gold and onyx rings they received during their junior years and turn them, so the logo, which includes the John Carroll chapel, faces out toward a viewer so the graduates can share their experience.

Prior to graduation, the seniors wear their rings with the chapel logo facing them.

Dohn reminded the graduates that, no matter what happens, "God is good, all the time."

"You are forever in the heart of John Carroll," she said. "Don't forget where you came from."