Northeast Times

A family exploration

The Fernandes family in Somerton now has 12 graduates from La Salle University.

Tra­di­tion of ex­cel­lence: Cecil­ia Fernandes is the 12th mem­ber of her fam­ily to gradu­ate from La Salle Uni­versity. The Somer­ton fam­ily’s roots at La Salle stretch back to 1955, when her great-uncle John Sapon­ara Sr. gradu­ated with a de­gree in edu­ca­tion.

Somer­ton’s Cecil­ia Fernandes re­cently be­came the 12th mem­ber of her fam­ily to gradu­ate from La Salle Uni­versity.

Fernandes earned a de­gree in ac­count­ing. Her par­ents, Joseph and Rita, are among the La Salle gradu­ates in her fam­ily.

“La Salle truly is a spe­cial place,” she said.

Fernandes said mem­bers of her fam­ily had re­ceived schol­ar­ships from oth­er col­leges, but they chose to at­tend La Salle be­cause of the edu­ca­tion their re­l­at­ives re­ceived. 

“I think my oth­er fam­ily mem­bers were happy when they found out that I de­cided to at­tend La Salle,” she said. “Col­lege is a big part of someone’s life, so I think they felt like I would re­ceive a great edu­ca­tion at La Salle, as well as hav­ing a great col­lege ex­per­i­ence. My dad was very happy when I de­cided to go to La Salle.”

Fernandes, who par­ti­cip­ated on a weeklong Hab­it­at for Hu­man­ity ser­vice trip to Birm­ing­ham, Alabama fol­low­ing gradu­ation, will start work­ing in Au­gust as a tax as­so­ci­ate for Druck­er & Scac­cetti in Cen­ter City.

“I knew when I was look­ing at col­leges that I wanted to be an ac­count­ing ma­jor, so I was im­me­di­ately im­pressed with all the La Salle School of Busi­ness had to of­fer, but I would say the main reas­on I chose La Salle was be­cause of the sense of be­long­ing I felt when I vis­ited cam­pus,” she said.

“The first time I stepped on cam­pus I was struck by its beauty, its peace­ful­ness and its friend­li­ness. Every­one I came in con­tact with that day made me feel like I be­longed in the La Salle com­munity. I nev­er got this feel­ing at any oth­er school I vis­ited, so I knew La Salle was the school for me. For the past three years, I was able to share my La Salle ex­per­i­ence with pro­spect­ive stu­dents by work­ing as a stu­dent tour guide in the un­der­gradu­ate ad­mis­sions of­fice.”

Fernandes’ roots at La Salle stretch back to 1955, when her great-uncle John Sapon­ara Sr. gradu­ated with a de­gree in edu­ca­tion. His son John Jr. gradu­ated in 1983 and was a Ful­bright Schol­ar.

An­oth­er fam­ily mem­ber who gradu­ated from La Salle is Sis­ter Mary Sapon­ara, MSC, a Mis­sion­ary Sis­ter of the Most Sac­red Heart of Je­sus, who has been in a min­istry in Mex­ico City at a poor par­ish for al­most 22 years. Sis­ter Mary re­ceived a joint mas­ter’s of theo­logy from La Salle and the Luther­an Sem­in­ary of Phil­adelphia. She is Cecil­ia Fernandes’ god­moth­er and aunt.

ldquo;I am so proud of Cecil­ia and so happy that she is the 12th in our fam­ily to gradu­ate from La Salle,” said Sis­ter Mary. “Her de­gree has giv­en her a unique op­por­tun­ity to in­teg­rate re­li­gion and life and a won­der­ful pro­fes­sion­al edu­ca­tion she has earned at this fine uni­versity.” 

Oth­er La Salle gradu­ates over the years have been Cecil­ia’s cous­in John Manzo, aunts Joanne Sapon­ara Ty­er and Jean­nie Galassi Sapon­ara, and uncles Paul Ty­er, Mi­chael Sapon­ara and Nich­olas Sapon­ara. ••

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