Today in history: May 29, [redacted], Along with myself, David MacDonald, Robert Farrell (RIP), John Sebastian (sorry we lost touch, your friendship was epic), and about 200 classmates graduated from B.C. High.

While I am a proud graduate of U/Mass Boston and especially appreciated the whole It’s a *CO-ED* school 🙂 It’s my four years at B.C. High that helped make me “A Man For Others.”

When I got the acceptance letter, I later learned that all of my entrance exam grades were very high 90s (except for math, low 70s) — I was IN, but could we possibly afford it?

Our family didn’t have a lot of money those days – it was a LONG shot to afford it. Might not even be possible.

I HAD to get away from the bullies of Saint Kevin, and make new friends and be with peers.

We needed financial aid for me to go there — and after a lot of paperwork got the happy news — financial aid approved as a work/study. I worked in the caf first year and the library the other three years before the school day started to pay half the tuition. I was happy that I had to work to qualify for the help.

I also qualified for the free lunch program — B.C. High bought me lunch for four years, every day. Never forgot that. Never. (LOVED spaghetti Wednesdays!)

Mom and Dad worked so hard to send me there. That first day when I bought the books I was DEVASTATED calling Mom to tell her how much those books cost. It was financial hit — we had no idea. But Mom and Dad somehow made it work. I’m sure they worried a lot but they hid that from me.

And I worked so hard, for the first time I was CHALLENGED (I’ll be honest, intellectually St. Kevin’s never really challenged me) but BC High? It was a struggle to study my ass off and get Bs and Cs. I was challenged, and I succeeded. Not high honors, not valedictorian, but a solid B-/C+ over all 🙂 (And a few A’s here and there and the dreaded D in Algebra and British Literature one quarter!)

And I made REAL friends, friends like David, and Bobby (miss you brother, RIP), John Sebastian (the funniest man I ever met and real friend for over 10 years) Bobby McAlarney, Steve Fulton (coolest kid in class). Happy to say still in touch with some of them and they are FAMILY. Or as David says, “Friends of Long Standing.” David and Bobby — brothers from another mother to this day.

And the priests and teachers — nothing but the best. Priests who were FRIENDS. Teachers who challenged me to be better. To THINK. To think differently. To question things. And many who made us feel like family.

Still resent having to read Homer’s “The Odyssey” over the summer, and nearly drowned under what what Mr. Walsh assigned (dude, we’re high school freshmen NOT doctorate candidates!) but my therapist and I worked through that!

And the class who would graduate the following year [year redacted] John “JB” Bourke John Bourke, Bill Collins, Jon Tripp, — still friends to this day 🙂

And everyone else? Not a bully in site. A great variety of personalities — jocks, the geeks like me, quiet kids, class clowns (not me, that came later in life) the brilliant kids, the ordinary kids, the serious, the shy, the introverts and extroverts — I got along with them all. What a change from Saint Kevin!

I CHERISH those four years — the boy who showed up that first day grew up a LOT those four years — he had a LONG way to go (and maybe still does) but man, the FOUNDATION was laid there at McElroy, Cushing, Science and Loyola.

B.C. High has evolved and updated and advanced so much since that that except for McElroy Hall I don’t recognize it — and most of the priests have passed away, most teachers retired, but they MADE A DIFFERENCE and I am grateful to every one of them.

Note: I graduated a year before Dad passed away; that’s him in the green coat by the rental car with me — we did take a picture in the kitchen with Mom and Dad — but Dad looked pretty sick (it is not a good look for him) so out of love and respect I’m not posting it — but he was there for the graduation ceremony, he was NOT feeling well that day, he couldn’t even eat any food at the dinner we had afterward at Anthony’s Pier 4 — but he was THERE.

B.C. High.

Ut Cognoscant Te (So they may know You.)

“A Man for Others.”

Two goals — you work toward them your entire life — and it all started there, on Morrissey Boulevard, so many years ago.

God Bless BC High and all its faculty and alumni.

One of my very favorite quotes of all time is this:

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is Thank You, it will be enough.” — Meister Eckhart.

To BC High and everyone there at that time, and to Mom and Dad for making it possible — THANK YOU.

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