As the hot sun beat down on their caps, the Bishop Feehan High School’s Class of 2023 heard sounds of cheers and congratulations during their graduation ceremony.
The 279 students, the largest class in Bishop Feehan’s history, gathered at McGrath Stadium to receive diplomas at the Attleboro school’s 59th commencement. Wearing robes of green and white, the students were led down to the field by a lone bagpiper and waved to their parents, friends and loved ones.
School President Timothy Sullivan lauded the Class of 2023 for their accomplishments over the past four years, praising their ability to build a community that he said would last for years.
“You have earned that honor,” Sullivan said. “You are an integral link to a 59-year-old chain.”
Sullivan recognized the class for perseverance during the COVID-19 pandemic and hospitality towards new students from Coyle Cassidy High School in Taunton, which closed in 2020.
Sullivan also recognized 13 members from the Class of 1973, who attended Thursday’s ceremony as part of their 50-year reunion that week. He said the connections created by each student were like the “interconnecting roots of redwood trees.”
“It’s your connections that made your time here successful,” he said. “We know you will take that lesson from Feehan.”
Principal Sean Kane’s speech recognized the bonds between students and their stewardship. He encouraged the Class of 2023 to be an inspiration for future students.
“Your challenge is to make the most of what has been recovered and preserve,” Kane said. “You demonstrated how to live your best lives as high school seniors”
Valedictorian Alysse Moskal from Wrentham also discussed the importance of community in her speech.
“Four years of ups and downs, laughter and cries, success and failures, we made it through,” Moskal said. “I think the greatest accomplishment was the strength we built and showed during the COVID pandemic. We refused to let it define our experience. We succeeded and built a vibrant and caring community.”
Throughout her speech, Moskal highlighted academic, theatrical, and athletic feats throughout the year. She gave a special shout-out to the girls’ basketball team, who placed second in the March D1 basketball state championship.
“Success in life looks completely different for everyone. It’s about becoming the best version of ourselves,” she said, adding it’s also about “how we help others” and making the world “a better place.”
Moskal thanked her classmates, parents, and Alan Svendsen, Feehan’s vice principal, who is retiring at the end of this school year. Svendsen handed out diplomas with Vice Principal Charlotte Lourenco.
The ceremony ended with the tossing of caps in the air as a crescendo of cheers erupted throughout the stadium.
“I’m so proud of you,” a parent said to their child. “You are amazing.”