Graduation to return to Rockefeller Chapel



MC graduation returns to historic Rockefeller Chapel for the Class of 2022.

A popular saying around the school community is that you come to Mt. Carmel as a boy and, if you care to struggle and work at it, leave as a man.

All MC freshmen take a trip to Rockefeller Chapel to get a perspective of what it’s like to be inside where they will eventually graduate if they put in the needed effort. To overcome challenges along the way only heightens the accomplishment to graduate in the chapel. “Coming in as a freshman I was so excited,” says senior Joey Thompson recalling the trip to the chapel almost four years ago. “I couldn’t wait to graduate there. Those four years really came by fast.”
In the past two years, graduation ceremonies at Rockefeller Chapel have been brought to a stop due to COVID-19. But this year with the pandemic situation improving Rockefeller Chapel will again host Mt. Carmel’s graduation. Seniors and teachers are looking forward to the beautiful experience of being inside the historic chapel during the ceremony.
Since 1990 graduation ceremonies have always been hosted in Rockefeller Chapel. During the onset of COVID-19 graduation was moved to the MC football field and the following year in the Cacciatore Gym.
Finally being able to return to the chapel is a breath of fresh air and is bringing excitement to everyone attending the graduation. “It’s the greatest graduation venue in the city of Chicago,” says MC Assistant Principal Mr. Bill Nolan. “It’s an absolutely beautiful, historic, majestic, place that is fitting for a school like Mt. Carmel to have their graduation ceremonies.”
Bringing graduation back to the majestic Rockefeller Chapel speaks to the rich tradition that Mt. Carmel holds. It gives the right space to celebrate students for their accomplishments and hard work. Mr. John Stimler, Director of Mission and Ministry is in charge of the graduation mass. He’s looking forward to not only returning to the chapel but hosting the liturgy. “It is one of the best things I think that we could process in and process out to the fight song,” says Mr. Stimler.
For Principal Scott Tabernacki, Rockefeller Chapel is a nostalgic place because he graduated there. It’s important to maintain a connection to faith and having it at Rockefeller chapel makes it special. “I think having the mass together, which is sort of our last time to celebrate together, and then also just having the ceremony in itself is a huge moment of the year,” says Mr. Tabernacki.
The past four years have gone by fast for the Class of 2022. On the day of graduation, seniors will be leaving their high school careers and moving on to greater things. “There are sometimes where you know it went slow, but I feel like the past four years they went by really fast,” says senior Rory McQuillan. “I always talk to older people, and they’ll be like ‘Yeah, it’ll go by fast,’ and now I see that.”
Most seniors are looking forward to walking in Rockefeller Chapel for their graduation. To make it to this point is accomplishing a personal goal for all seniors. After seeing his brother’s graduation in Rockefeller Chapel in 2019, senior Ahmad Raoul has had the goal to graduate in the same chapel. “It’s a place of God and it’s something more than just a church,” he says. “It’s a place filled with success since we’re all graduating.”
Throughout four years at Mt. Carmel seniors will cherish most of their high school moments, but returning to Rockefeller Chapel for graduation will be a memorable experience. Most other high schools graduate on their football field or gym, but at Mt. Carmel it’s different, especially returning to a tradition.

“Other high schools either graduate on their football field or in their gym,” says Thompson. “You know, at Mt. Carmel, it’s different. When I chose to come to Mt. Carmel as a freshman it was different. You come as a boy, you leave as a man.”