Valedictorian Haley Pelletier of Lynn captured the true spirit of St. Mary’s in her address at the school’s 131st commencement at Lynn City Hall Memorial Auditorium May 23.
“I think it is safe to say that every student here has been a part of something successful,” said Pelletier said, who will attend the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. “And I’m not judging success by the number of trophies we won – although there were a lot. I am judging success by the way we came together to achieve common goals, and by the way we worked to improve ourselves and those around us in everything that we did. I think that is ultimately what defines St. Mary’s students: We’re a team.”
Pelletier and her 136 “teammates” received their diplomas at a ceremony that was highlighted by Carl DiMaiti’s delivering the commencement address in his last year as principal. DiMaiti, who has been principal since 1999, is moving into a new role as special assistant to the head of school, in which he will focus on enrollment and advancement.
“Even though tonight is a milestone, it’s just one checkpoint on a lifelong journey,” said DiMaiti, who urged the graduates to be lifelong learners.
Members of the Class of 2013 will be attending some of the top universities in the country including: Harvard University, Smith College, College of the Holy Cross, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Providence College, Boston University, Bentley University and Clark University.
Head of School Grace Cotter Regan and Board of Trustees Chair Jack King also offered remarks, while Dean of Advancement Kathryn Dearing officially welcomed the graduates into the distinguished group of St. Mary’s alumni.
Regan noted the number of landmark events the Class of 2013 has lived through, including the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon, the election of the country’s first black president and the emergence of social media. “This class is experiencing a world that is forever changing and there seems to be a new normal every day,” said Regan, who is completing her first year as head of school.
King, a 1966 St. Mary’s graduate, was a member of one of the last classes to graduate at City Hall Auditorium before this year, as the ceremony was moved to the school – and later the church – after 1967.
Starting a new tradition, St. Mary’s presented Spartan pins to the members of the graduating class from 50 years ago. Richard Cuffe, a 1963 graduate, accepted the pins on behalf of the members of his class, as well as the classes of 1943 and 1953.
St. Mary’s honored longtime teacher and senior class advisor Carolan Patten, who is retiring this year. Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy and state Rep. Robert Fennell also spoke at the ceremony.
The night before graduation, a Baccalaureate Mass was celebrated for members of the Class of 2013 and their families. St. Mary’s Pastor Rev. Brian Flynn presided at the Mass, which was followed by the presentation of senior awards. Salutatorian Meghan McCarthy, who will attend the College of the Holy Cross, addressed her classmates, encouraging them to embrace what lies ahead.
“It is time for us to take what we have learned and apply it so that we may learn what we want to learn, see what we want to see, and do what we want to do,” she said. “A whole world of possibilities is in front of us; all we have to do now is be courageous enough to step out into it.”