More than 120 Christendom College students will cross the stage this weekend as members of the school’s 42nd graduating class.

John Jakubisin will be one of those graduates leaving the school in Front Royal for the next stage of his life. Jakubisin, 21, who is from the Cleveland, Ohio, area, enrolled at Christendom in 2017.

Jakubisin focused his studies at Christendom in political science and economics. He took classes in Christendom’s summer program before enrolling in the private, Catholic liberal arts college. Jakubisin cited the summer program and the school's religious affiliation as to what attracted him to Christendom.

“It had great academics and spiritual development,” Jakubisin said. “I knew their rugby program was very developed. I’d played rugby since the fifth grade, so I was excited to play here and I played all four years (at Christendom).

“I really liked the campus and just the teachers and people I met seemed very open and welcome and it seemed like a great place to be every time I visited,” Jakubisin added.

Jakubisin said he enjoyed living in the Shenandoah Valley and found opportunities to get involved in the community. He served as a resident assistant, worked in the college’s operations and its marketing office as well as served on the student activities council. Jakubisin also served as the senior class vice president this year.

While at Christendom, Jakubisin participated in a study-abroad program in Rome, where he and fellow students took side trips to Paris, Vienna and Budapest.

“To study in Rome was wonderful,” Jakubisin recalled. “We had classes on Italian history and architecture, learning Italian language as well as learning philosophy and theology right in the heart of where all that was started.”

The COVID-19 pandemic created more challenges, Jakubisin said, as the college switched some classes to online.

“They are definitely a challenge being virtual, just not getting that one-on-one presence with the teacher and doing a lot of work on your own time instead of the structure at school,” Jakubisin said. “It was difficult, especially your schedule being different.

“Me and my friends took up jobs during the shutdown so we were balancing work and school,” Jakubisin said. “It was much different than our time on campus.”

The college implemented protocols this year to ensure the safety of the students and staff.

“I think everybody working together got us through it,” Jakubisin said.

During his time at Christendom, Jakubisin worked with the Population Research Institute in Front Royal and as a journalism intern at the Media Research Center in Reston through which he spent time last summer at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., conducting research, speaking to U.S. senators and writing articles on congressional spending.

Jakubisin said he will begin a job at Markon Solutions, a government contractor in Falls Church, in June. The company works primarily with the Department of Defense and specializes in information technology and infrastructure.

Jakubisin said the college helped him move on to the next step in his life.

“I was very prepared by Christendom for my career just in the communication, writing, critical thinking skills that they help you develop here,” Jakubisin said. “So I think my education as a whole, including the political science and economics aspect of it prepared me for my career.”

Louis Leo Holtz, former professional football player, college coach and television sports announcer, will deliver the commencement speech on Saturday. The college plans to present Holtz with its Pro Deo et Patria Award for Distinguished Service to God and Country. The Diocese of Arlington’s Bishop Michael Burbidge will lead the Baccalaureate Mass for graduates today.

Commencement ceremonies are closed to the public, and the school will allow only graduates and select members of their families as well as essential personnel on campus for the various events. Anyone interested in watching the livestream of the ceremonies can visit Christendom’s YouTube page.

– Contact Alex Bridges at abridges@nvdaily.com