"Not only did Lauralton provide us with the intellect we need to succeed, but also that anchor of faith we can always fall back on if we need to climb through the trenches of life," said Jessica Napolitano, Lauralton Hall valedictorian. Gabrielle Shkreli, salutatorian, said, ""The special relationships formed with our teachers and peers have not only helped us achieve academic excellence, but have instilled within us the Core Values of a Mercy Education - compassion and service; educational excellence; concern for women and women's issues; global vision and responsibility; spiritual growth and development and collaboration -\u00a0that will guide us through our future endeavors." On Sunday, June 2, Lauralton Hall presented diplomas to 107 young women from several towns across Connecticut. President Antoinette Iadarola gave the opening and closing remarks and, along with Chairman of the Board of Trustees Michael Amato and Principal Ann Pratson, presented the graduates with their diplomas. Amato also presented the Catherine McAuley Award. The Catherine McAuley Award, Lauralton's highest honor, is named for the Sisters of Mercy's foundress and is given to a student for her commitment to Lauralton's mission; her sound academic performance, her spirit of volunteerism and a value system that responds to others with compassion, courage and genuine graciousness. This year the award went to Kathleen Sullivan of Milford. The ceremony also included speeches from Valedictorian Jessica Napolitano and Salutatorians Rebecca Sherrick and Gabrielle Shkreli. They topped a list of graduates who will pursue higher education at some of the most competitive colleges and universities in the country, including Brown, Boston University, Vassar, Fordham, Connecticut College, Wesleyan, Purdue, Siena and Villanova. In her opening remarks President Iadarola spoke of how impressed she is with this year's graduating class. "We are so proud of all of our graduates," she said. "They have been accepted at 160 colleges and universities and they have received over $16 million in merit based scholarships. We are also proud that they have used their Mercy education to formulate a vision of a just global society, demonstrating their compassion for others by performing more than 5,000 hours of service this year. "Our graduates have worked with autistic children at camp Teepee," she continued. "They helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity; they helped research early signs of autism at the Yale Child Study Center and several traveled to Guatemala to help build a three-classroom school. "In short, they have learned well the dictum of our foundress, Catherine McAuley, when she said: "The poor need help today......not next week."