In photo, left to right - Treasurer William Nee, Secretary Neissa Zamor. Vice President Angela Okoye, and President Robert O' Connell (Photo by Judy Bass)
“There is no stopping the Class of 2019,” declared Class President Robert O’Connell of Dedham.
By Judy Bass
On Wednesday, June 12, under glorious blue skies with soft, summery breezes and weather that could not have been more perfect, 207 members of the Class of 2019 at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton bade farewell to their high school days at the school’s Commencement Exercises, wished their classmates good luck in the future, and expressed their abiding gratitude to Blue Hills for giving them the education to achieve their dreams.
The occasion was both sentimental and high-spirited, with the grads eager for this ceremonial rite of passage to begin.
Among those in attendance were members of the Blue Hills Regional District School Committee including
Chair Marybeth Nearen of Randolph, who gave a speech welcoming everyone and congratulating the graduates;
Vice Chair Thomas R. Polito, Jr. of Dedham; Secretary Eric C. Erskine of Braintree; Kevin L. Connolly of Norwood; Matthew P. O’Malley of Milton; Aidan G. Maguire, Jr. of Canton, whose son, Colin, was among the graduates; and Charles W. Flahive of Westwood.
In his address, Valedictorian Evan J. Jurdan of Dedham reminisced about the good times he enjoyed with his peers. “It may have been tough,” he said, “but I feel that our shared journey through these four years has been a fun ride…Congratulations Class of 2019, today you are free!”
Class Treasurer William R. Nee of Canton presented the class gift, a new speaker system for the football field, to Supt. Quaglia.
Class President Robert M. O’Connell of Dedham acknowledged that change can be disconcerting, but said in his speech that it can have valuable transformative effects, too. “For many of us, and even myself,” he said, “I have come to realize that any form of change is hard at first, but… the ones who create change, and bask in its glory, succeed.”
The keynote speaker was Lt. Col. James Connolly, Jr., US Marine Corps (Ret.), who graduated from Blue Hills 44 years ago and is the brother of District School Committee member Kevin Connolly of Norwood.
He paid tribute to his education at the school, saying, “I am what I am today because of Blue Hills.”
He then offered the graduates some pointers for a successful, productive life based on his own experience, such as work hard, be results-oriented, make yourself indispensable, be a problem-solver not a problem, and learn to communicate face-to-face instead of always using electronic devices.
Lt. Col. Connolly said he’s not overly reliant upon technology himself – he has 402 unread emails in his cell phone plus 42 unread text messages.
Superintendent James P. Quaglia thanked the school’s nine member communities, acknowledged the members of the District School Committee, and told the grads to remember that “what you do and what you say express who you are.” He urged them to “spend the rest of your lives refining and defining” themselves.
Principal Jill Rossetti reflected upon the unforgettable milestones that she has shared with the Class, such as watching Blue Hills grad and NASA astronaut Scott Tingle of Randolph in real time from aboard the International Space Station, watching them excel in their technical programs as they acquired new professional skills, and doing meaningful projects that helped others as part of their membership in the National Honor Society.
“You will take the precious memories you made at Blue Hills with you for the rest of your life,” she noted.