The night cooperated – mostly. The rain shower was brief. Light eventually shone through the auditorium windows which was just as bright as the smiles on the faces of the Class of 2019. One hundred and twenty-six students crossed the stage to receive their diplomas and celebrate the 67th Commencement of Archbishop Williams High School.
The gathered audience of family, friends, faculty, staff and invited guests were treated to the wit and wisdom of student speakers Eion Varden, Class President, Annika Gregg, Valedictorian and Elizabeth Saltzman, Salutatorian. Each shared a slice of their cherished, memorable AW experience that made them ready to move on and meet the challenges that certainly wait ahead. Those sentiments were matched by the guest Commencement speaker, Mr. David McGrath, Class of 1977, who delivered one of the most memorable addresses in commencement history. McGrath encouraged the graduates to be fearless and to not be afraid to “run in the dark.” Running in the dark is what most adults face almost daily
, he mused. He recounted his own road to success as so many turns and exits of risk taking and failure and feigned confidence that led to successes and ventures he could never imagine. These successes also enabled him to pursue philanthropic initiatives that have enriched the lives of others while enriching his. Using a prop from the school musical Anything Goes (yes! Mr. McGrath “stole” the prop as a memento of his AW theater days) the signage seemed to sum up perfectly the theme of his speech for the seniors: let your future be an experiment of allowing yourself to believe just about anything is doable if you dream it.
The graduation followed the tradition of awarding subject Gold and Silver medals, the awarding of the Williams Award. This year’s recipient was senior Bridgette O’Reilly and recognition of the retirement of Deans Office secretary, Mrs. Barbara McEvoy. Like so many graduations, it was a night to revel in the accomplishments of Class of 2019, to express gratitude to parents and family members who have provided an Archbishop Williams education to a son or daughter and to celebrate the benefits of being a Bishop always.