Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury has now graduated more than 10,000 young men.
Phillip Ishige became the 9,999th graduate of the Catholic all-boys school during the school’s 52nd commencement last week, administrators said. Marcus Jackson followed him across the stage to become the school’s 10,000th to receive a diploma.
The school’s first graduate, Howard Allen, from the class of 1961, honored Jackson with a gift for helping the school reach that mark, officials said.
In all, 159 seniors dressed in red caps and gowns graduated Thursday at the ceremony with friends, family and faculty inside Holy Name Church in West Roxbury, according to the school.
Missing from the group, were Francis McInerney and Christopher Donlon, classmates who died last year. Students’ tassels included two black strings, among the red and white, to remember them.
Nearly all of the members of the Class of 2012 plan study at a four-year college or university, school leaders said. Together, they have earned more than $10 million in college scholarships.
Students plan to attend Brandeis, Tufts, Bucknell, Wake Forest, Johns Hopkins and George Washington universities, Williams and Bowdoin colleges, the College of William and Mary, the University of Virginia, and other schools, officials said.
During his speech, school president Paul Sheff left the students with life lessons from Trappist monks, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Rosa Parks, and comedian Billy Crystal, whose character in the 1991 film "City Slickers" says that life is about finding that "one thing."
"The 'one thing' for Rosa Parks was her dignity as a human being. For that she was arrested," said Sheff, according to the school. "The 'one thing' for the monks was solidarity with the people who relied on them. For that they were killed, all seven of them. Your moment of truth and how you respond may not make it into the history books, or result in your arrest or the loss of your life, but it may, in its own way, change who you are."
Valedictorian Dennis Muldoon, a champion distance runner Weymouth, told his classmates to challenge themselves as much as the fastest sprinters do.
"For some of us, this evening marks a final goodbye to CM," he said. "This is the last page of an important chapter in our lives. We will gather again, in strength, at CM reunions in the future….but it will never be quite as it is tonight. As we leave, let us promise each other that we will continue to live your lives to the fullest."
The school administration recognized retiring faculty member Paul Capodilupo and 45-year faculty and staff member Thomas Meagher with special plaques, officials said.
Students Richard Thompson, Joshua Dyson, Dennis Khoshabjian, Antonio Zegarelli, Jr., Dominic Cauteruccio, Paul Brauer, Gerard Lawler, Aaron Marcel and Austin Bannister all received awards, according to administrators.
Donovan Henry of Sharon received what the school considers its most prestigious graduation award, The Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice Founder's Award, for distinguishing himself as a scholar, athlete and leader in the school’s community service initiatives.
Salutatorian Miles McCarthy of Framingham spoke about a overhearing two public students as they talked about wishing they could attend Catholic Memorial.
"Who must we be somebody for?" he asked, according to the school. "Our parents who sent us to CM? Maybe. Our teachers who enlightened us along the way? Them too. What about the students who haven’t had the opportunities we’ve had? Those who wish they had the chance to come to CM? Absolutely for them.”
“We all have a responsibility to use the opportunities that we have been granted through the hard work of our teachers, parents, and others – an opportunity that others do not have."
For the latest West Roxbury updates:
Follow @YourWestRoxbury on Twitter, here.
And connect via Facebook by clicking the "Like" button on the top left hand corner of the West Roxbury homepage, here.