By Judy Bass
Although the skies were leaden and rain was falling lightly, 192 members of the Class of 2014 at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton refused to let the murky weather dampen their spirits as they bade farewell to their high school days and anticipated their future.
Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) was the keynote speaker. In an address that was movingly personal and filled with words of wisdom for the new graduates, he said, “Don’t worry about being the next Steve Jobs. Be the first ‘you.’ And be the best you that you can be. Go out into the world, get your hands dirty and build something. Build a strong character. Build a good career. Build a good family. Build a good life. And whatever path you choose, work harder than the other guy.”
Present for the ceremony were Superintendent-Director James P. Quaglia, who addressed the graduates, Assistant Superintendent / Principal Michael J. Barrett, who was Master of Ceremonies, and District School Committee members Kevin L. Connolly (Norwood), Marybeth Nearen (Randolph), Chairman Aidan G. Maguire, Jr. (Canton), Vice Chairman Charles W, Flahive (Westwood), and Robert McNeil (Holbrook).
Quaglia spoke about his father, Louis, a US Marine and war veteran. “Time after time he would say: ‘Semper Fi, boy…Semper Fi.’ As a kid, this was a fairly cryptic message. But I later learned that it is an abbreviated Latin term: Semper Fidelis, or Always Faithful. It is the motto of the US Marines. So here I stand, in front of a class of Warriors [the Warrior is the symbol of Blue Hills] to impart that same advice before they leave for the world: Semper Fi. So remember…Always be faithful. Fight the good fight every day. That is what Warriors do.”
“As I look out over this audience, I see great leaders in the making,” said DSC Chairman Maguire, a Blue Hills alumnus, in his speech. “You will be employers, homeowners, voters, parents and taxpayers. You are the next generation that rises to the top. Even though you won’t be in our classrooms anymore, you’ll carry what we taught you for life. The diploma that you receive today isn’t merely a piece of paper – it’s your ticket to tomorrow, to a destiny that can be anything you want it to be.”
Class President N’Dea Jackson (Randolph), Valedictorian Leila Chow (Randolph), and Treasurer Khalil Washum (Dedham) also delivered prepared remarks to the capacity audience of their fellow classmates, plus school staff, family members and well-wishers.
“Never forget your time at dear old Blue Hills, Class of 2014,” Jackson exhorted the grads. “Never forget your morals and what you stand for because if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. We have been well prepared to face this world and now we must take our wisdom and impact the people we come across, one by one.”
Washum, the treasurer, announced that the class gift was new landscaping along Randolph Street in front of the school “to better welcome future generations to our alma mater.”