PEABODY — Under a brilliant sun and steamy temperatures, Grace Mary Harris, Bishop Fenwick High School’s senior class president, welcomed the Class of 2018.
The 132 graduates, including eight international students, and 38 National Honor Society members, received their diplomas in the Lt. Steven Donaldson Stadium.
“We have done it,” said Matthew Roger Collins, the salutatorian who will be attending Boston University in the fall. “It seemed like just yesterday that we were walking the halls of Bishop Fenwick with our freshman backpacks.”
He encouraged classmates to cherish their time at the co-ed Catholic preparatory high school founded by the late Archbishop of Boston Richard Cardinal Cushing.
“There’s a reason why adults look back fondly on their high school years,” he said. “The memories and friendships you make will last a lifetime. Distance is just a mild inconvenience to friendship. Just because your best friend is attending a college far away, it doesn’t mean the friendship has to end. Take initiative to ensure your closest high school friends become your closest lifelong friends, no matter the distance.”
Brother Thomas Zoppo, the principal, praised graduates for developing unique talents, discovering new ones, fostering friendships, welcoming new classmates, experiencing adventures, and cultivating varied interests.
“As a class, there is no doubt you have embraced your key role at Fenwick and your influence of those who will follow you,” he said. “Your spirit, enthusiasm, creativity, comradery, giftedness, and generosity defines the legacy you leave behind.”
Valedictorian Thien-Kim N. Nguyen brought humor to the mostly solemn occasion. She recalled a handful of Fenwick memories, including playing table tennis in class or the time when a classmate nearly lit a lab station on fire.
“It was these silly little things that remind us of what we enjoyed here,” she said. “While the most difficult tests, assignments, projects, and even the teachers caused us lots of suffering, I’m glad we could rely on each other for mutual solace.”