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A Graceful exit: SMH head of school is honored in Nahant

Grace Cotter Regan accepting a gift from Betty Twomey, right, at the reception honoring Grace held at the Nahant Country Club. (Owen O'Rourke)

NAHANT — Two St. Mary’s students might speak for the school community when they give Grace Cotter Regan two thumbs up as she takes on a new assignment.

The head of school will leave the college preparatory school in January after five years to serve as the first female president of Boston College High School.

“One of the awesome things about her is she knows many of us by name,” said Mia Dibiasio, a 16-year-old junior. “She brought such a positive vibe to the school, and cared about all of us. There were simple things, like her saying ‘God is good’ all the time.”

Brenden Willis, 17, who will graduate next year, said if he had to choose one word to describe Regan it would be “loyal.”

“No matter what, she’s always there for students,” he said. “I had a few rough spots since I arrived and I was always able to talk to her. Even though she is always wicked busy, she would find five minutes for you and squeeze you in.”

When Willis needed a letter of recommendation for college, Regan devised one that was genuine and not the usual form letter, he said.

“It was heartfelt and very specific for me,” he said. “When one of my grandparents passed away, I didn’t know where to turn, she helped me through it.”

On Wednesday, St. Mary’s graduates and friends toasted Regan at the Nahant Country Club, who said moving on is bittersweet.

“When I came to Lynn I didn’t know a soul and I had zero credibility, so I really had to earn my stripes,” she said. “But I became a partner in the Lynn community and now I know more about Lynn than most Lynners. The legacy of St. Mary’s will live on.”

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