In 1945, St. Sebastian’s celebrated the inaugural graduating class. While the rest of the student body remained in classes, the seniors enjoyed a week of Commencement festivities, beginning on Monday with a class outing in Scituate, followed by the Senior Prom at the Puritan Hotel in Boston on Tuesday. Wednesday’s highlight was a father-son baseball game against Belmont Hill. On Thursday evening, a reception for the School’s first graduates was held at John Hancock Hall, featuring a performance by classical musicians.

On June 1, 1945, the seniors and their parents, along with the devoted priest faculty who had guided them, gathered for a Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by Headmaster McInnis at the Cenacle Convent in the morning and the grand finale in the afternoon—Commencement—held on the impressive grounds of the Archbishop’s Residence in Brighton . His Excellency Archbishop Cushing presided and paid tribute to both the graduates and the young school.

The School’s first ever Valedictorian, Richard Shea ’45, delivered the following words to his classmates, teachers, and all those gathered to celebrate the Class of 1945. In light of the Class of 2017’s Commencement only a few days from now, take a look at what Richard had to say on his graduation day, 71 years ago:

The hour has come for the first graduates of St. Sebastian’s to bid a reluctant farewell to their Alma Mater. This is the hour which, for four long years, has been the goal of all our scholastic aspirations. This is the hour which we thought would never come. Looked forward to in hopeful anticipation, these impressive Commencement exercises seemed to hold nothing but boundless joy and exuberant happiness, all emanating from the gain of the first real objective in our educational careers. And yet, now that the moment has arrived for us to claim the fruits of conquest, we find ourselves by no means eager to acknowledge its summons. Joy may be the prevailing motif of this day,but we are only too conscious of an undercurrent, akin to sadness, at the prospect of separation from what has been so much a part of us these last few years.

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