Seeing double: Bishop Stang graduates two sets of students

Jun 6, 2024

After a series of unexpected challenges including a pandemic and a permanent school closure, Bishop Stang High School co-salutatorian Lillian Surprenant said that the class of 2024 is made of “resilience.” 

The unusual career of Bishop Stang’s graduating class this year was retold by many during the school’s sendoff of 172 graduating seniors on Thursday, June 6.

This year, Bishop Stang graduated two sets of students – those who attended Bishop Stang from the start, and students who transferred to Bishop Stang for senior year from the now defunct Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River.

The ceremony introduced a set of valedictorians and salutatorians from both schools as a testament to Bishop Connolly’s history and contributions to Catholic education, Vice Principal of Academics Daniel Dias said.

Co-valedictorian William Kippe, who will attend the University of Virginia this fall, said that while the class of 2024 might have grown considerably in the last year, it has always been a “family.”

Kippe left the class with three pieces of advice. He told students to find family wherever they go, to keep their heads up, and to live every day like it has the potential to be the best day of their lives.

Co-valedictorian Logan Reis, who is attending Boston University in the fall, originally attended Bishop Connolly. Reis said that as a kid, he was “encapsulated” by Disney channel shows like “Suite Life on Deck” and “Hannah Montana.” 

“In a unique way, each [show] captured some aspect of what high school would look like,” Reis said.

All students had some degree of expectation of what high school was going to be like, and in one way or another, they can agree that it did not go as planned, he said.

Despite this, Reis said that to some extent, students have spent their last four years living out the routine of going to high school. Now, they no longer have this routine, he said.

“There’s no Disney channel show telling us what our lives should or would be like,” Reis said. “But that is a good thing.”

Reis said that the question from there on out should not be “what will tomorrow be like?” Rather, he told students to question “how will I make my tomorrow?”

After Bishop Connolly’s closure, nearly 50 seniors transferred to Bishop Stang, Reis said.

“We expected to be graduating red and white 30 minutes away from here,” Reis said. “Instead, we received an email on a random Wednesday in March at 3:27 p.m. telling us to change schools.”

“How’s that for March Madness?” Reis said.

Morgan Diogo, who is attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in the fall, is the co-salutatorian from Bishop Connolly. In her address to the class of 2024, she said that they have had a lot taken from them, including their eighth grade graduation and freshman year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“If anyone can say they’ve had a bizarre high school experience,” Diogo said. “It’s our class.”

Co-salutatorian Lillian Surprenant, who is attending Boston College this fall, reiterated the uniqueness of the class of 2024’s time in high school.

“As a freshman, you were told to stay home, keep your distance, to guard yourself and wait it out.” Surprenant said. “That was the reality of our world.” 

“We were faced with the most unexpected of challenges and we endured,” she said.