St. Francis Borgia Regional High School will hold its 36th annual commencement this Thursday, May 17, at 7 p.m. in the Ray DeGreeff Memorial Gymnasium.

Diplomas will be presented to 140 graduates.

“The SFBRHS Class of 2018 is full of kids who are going to make a positive difference in this world,” said Principal Pam Tholen. “They have made a positive impact on our school, and I know they’re going to do great things.

“They are kind, talented and intelligent,” she noted. “I’m so thankful that these graduates were my first group of seniors, because they have set the bar high for each class coming up behind them.”

The 2018 valedictorian is Isabella Volmert. Cassandra Caragine is the salutatorian. Both will receive awards and speak at graduation.

Steve Ruether, a 1967 graduate and former teacher and coach, will be the commencement speaker.

The SFBRHS band will provide the music at commencement.

The master of ceremonies will be Moira Vossbrink, director of marketing and admissions.

Amanda Wunderlich, campus minister, will give the invocation. The benediction will be given by Jeff and Dana Hellebusch, parents of Jay Hellebusch.

School President Father Kevin Schmittgens and Principal Pam Tholen will present Student of Distinction awards to Noah Elbert, Martha Glastetter, Abigail Matt, Devon Rotramel, Andrew Simily and Megan Spaunhorst.

Diplomas will be presented by Father Kevin, Tholen and senior class moderators Ellen Domijan and Kayla Eckelkamp. Tholen also will announce scholarship awards.

Dr. J. David Shelton, director of administrative services with the Catholic Education office, will speak.


Valedictorian Isabella Volmert is the daughter of Russell and Barbara Volmert, Washington. She has earned a cumulative 4.0 GPA.

Volmert, who attended St. Francis Borgia Grade School, has been a member of National Honor Society, captain of the Scholar Bowl, band, Pro-Life, Healthy Lifestyles, Student Council class officer, Luke 18, soccer, Faith & Action, and president of the German Klub.

She also earned Missouri Bright Flight honors.

She has been active in the community by serving as a volunteer with the Washington Public Library summer reading program and Mercy Hospital as a summer student volunteer.

She also volunteers at St. Francis Borgia Parish helping with the children’s liturgy, Vacation Bible School, food pantry, lector and cantor; Washington Town & Country Fair; and Kurt Warner’s Winter Warm-up Coat Drive. Additionally, she works as a math tutor.

Volmert earned a full tuition academic scholarship to St. Francis Borgia Regional High School.

She also earned first place in the St. Louis Archdiocese Catholic Appeal Essay Contest; first place Post Level for the VFW Voices of Democracy Essay Contest; second place district level for the VFW Voices of Democracy Essay Contest; third place in the St. Louis Symphony Express the Music Essay Contest; received a “1” rating in clarinet quartet and clarinet solo at the State Band Competition; represented Borgia at local, regional and state levels of the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering; earned the Glory of Missouri Knowledge Award.

Volmert will attend the University of Notre Dame and plans to major in English and anthropology. She has earned a total of 43 college credit hours while in high school.


Salutatorian Cassandra Caragine is the daughter of Dr. Louis and Robyn Caragine, Villa Ridge. She has earned a cumulative 4.0 GPA.

Caragine is a member of National Honor Society, Scholar Bowl, Model UN, Pro-Life, band, Healthy Lifestyles, served as vice president of Faith in Action, theater, Spanish Club, and was co-captain of the swim team.

She also earned Missouri Bright Flight honors.

Her community involvement includes volunteering at Harvest Table at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, Peter and Paul Homeless Shelter in St. Louis, and St. Francis Borgia Food Pantry. She also traveled to Guatemala to volunteer at an orphanage.

Caragine is a National Merit finalist; received the Martin Luther King Jr. Model of Justice Award; was a member of the second-place team in the World Youth in Science and Engineering team; earned first place in non-routine problem solving at the Southeast Missouri State University Math Field Day; and received District Honor Choir.

She attended St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School in Cape Girardeau.

Caragine will attend Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and plans to major in linguistics and chemistry. She earned a total of 50 college credit hours in high school.

Borgia High has a total of 11 students who earned Missouri Bright Flight Scholarship honors.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offers the Bright Flight Scholarship, which is renewable for five years, to any graduating senior who scores in the 97th percentile on the ACT/SAT.

This $3,000 scholarship is to encourage Missouri’s strongest academic students to further their postsecondary education in the state.