Bishop Feehan graduates told they are prepared for what comes next

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Class of 2022 Valedictorian Amy Parkinson, of North Attleborough, said that each of the graduates lifted the spirits of others through acts of love and kindness. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
Seamus Sutula, a Class of 2021 graduate, played the bagpipes to begin the graduation ceremony at Bishop Feehan High School on Friday, June 3. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

The last three years have been difficult for the Bishop Feehan Class of 2022—lost milestones, a constantly changing ‘normal,’ and parts of high school life that looked much different than expected.

Yet through it all, the students worked hard, persevered, and at their Commencement Ceremony on June 3, School President Tim Sullivan told them all that “you are ready.”

My first draft of this speech included the word survive—but you’ve done far more than that. Despite obstacles, you’ve created deep friendships, you developed long-time talents and discovered new passions,” he said. “You’ve become the young adults that your parents and your high school knew you could be.”

The ceremony marked the 58th class to graduate from the school, and the 267 students were joined by family and friends that greeted them with thunderous applause and cheers. Along with the graduates, 41 members of the Class of 2022 attended to celebrate their 50th reunion, held on June 4. There were also students in gold gowns, worn to recognize their older siblings that received their diplomas.

Sullivan said these graduates were continuing a 58-year chain established by the Sisters of Mercy and built over the years. He said that the Class of 2022 shared a foundation of mercy with the Class of 1972 and many more.

That’s the Feehan family,” said Sullivan.

Alec Certruse accepts his diploma from Fall River Bishop Edgar da Cunha. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

Principal Sean King said that this class had been strongly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they showed leadership during that time. He recalled a football game where Bishop Feehan defeated North Attleborough, and knew in that moment they “were back.”

Thank you for showing Feehan was back and better than ever,” he said.

King said that the Class of 2022 faced many challenges and brought so much joy to the school, the gratitude for which could be heard in the speeches.

We are forever in your debt,” said King.

Valedictorian and North Attleborough resident Amy Parkinson said that as much as she and her classmates learned from their teachers, they have also learned from one another. They saw that the smallest action can make the biggest difference, and she said everyone present has impacted her life.

I can say without hesitation, that each of you sitting in front of me today has lifted the spirits of others through acts of love and kindness,” said Parkinson. “Maybe it is your unique personality, or your participation in an activity or just small day-to-day actions that have unbeknownst to you, affected others.”

Parkinson recalled a day in her freshman year when a friend tripped and fell during dismissal. With the rush of students leaving, that person could have been hurt, but another freshman helped them up. Years later, that student may not even remember offering a helping hand, but Parkinson said the act, and many more that followed, showed her friend that Feehan would become a second home over the next four years.

Something that might have seemed so insignificant to one person actually made an incredible difference in another classmate’s experience,” she said. “As you sit in the audience today, know that you undoubtedly were a person who leaves similar impacts for other classmates—even if you did not know it at the time.”

Fall River Bishop Edgar da Cunha attended the ceremony and conferred the diplomas to the seniors. Afterward, he told the Class of 2022 how proud everyone was of them and that they were the hope for the future. He referenced a section from the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” how some people hide their hopes, but everyone has a dream and sometimes, they come true.

All of us have already fulfilled some dreams, and many of us still have dreams to be fulfilled—we continue dreaming,” said da Cunha. “You, dear Class of 2022, are realizing today an important dream in your life. But this is just the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. You are just turning the page in your lives. This is a brand new beginning as you embark on this new chapter in your lives.”