Stang graduates set to take the world by storm

May 30, 2019

Amid the usual pomp and circumstance, there were lighter moments — plenty of laughs, hugs, and one impromptu cheer — as the Bishop Stang Class of 2019 graduated on Wednesday evening.

143 seniors were accompanied by a five-person brass band as they entered the room in procession, with the ladies in grey robes seated on the right and the boys in maroon to the left.

Speakers during the ceremony included former Bishop Stang student James Black, President and CEO of Moran Shipping Agencies and member of the Class of 1969, as well as the Bishop of Fall River Edgar M. da Cunha, Superintendent of the Diocese of Fall River Schools Stephen Perla, and the school President and Principal Peter Shaughnessy.

Salutatorian Jacob Thompson and Valedictorian Patrick Clark also gave well-received speeches to mark the occasion.

“Just because time seems to fly by sometimes doesn’t mean that life is short,” said Clark in his speech. “Life is extensive, and boundless, and filled with opportunities.”

James Black asked the new graduates to think about who is going to impact their life in a positive way, reminiscing about his time at Bishop Stang in the pre-internet days and drawing a laugh when he referenced using an encyclopedia.

Bishop Cunha told them to “have an attitude of gratitude.”

“There are many things in our lives over which we have no control,” he said. “Sometimes we spend a lot of energy trying to control the things we cannot, and we miss the opportunity to control the things we can.

“There is no way you can predict all that will happen in your life. So be prepared for the unpredictable,” he added.

After the hour-long ceremony, students and their families met on the field outside to throw their caps, celebrate with friends, and take photos.

Dartmouth resident and new graduate Eric Payette said, “It’s been a long four years, but I’ve been ready for graduation. Looking forward to it. Really excited for college.”

He’s going to Stonehill College to study math and secondary education, with the goal of becoming a math teacher.

“My grandmother and my mom are both teachers, and I had a lot of great teachers at Stang that kind of influenced me to make that decision,” he said.

“Patrick did a great job with his talk, about how we’re all clay and we need to get molded. And how the teachers have the job of molding us. So I feel like, if I can help mold some kid into a better form of what they were before, then I’m doing a great [job].”

Both of Payette’s older siblings graduated from Bishop Stang — as did his mother and father.

“It’s kind of a family tradition,” said mom Christine. “It was a great fit for us as parents, and we just knew we wanted it for our kids too.”

Other graduates were from Stang families too.

Westport resident Mary Beth Ferrarini, who came to watch her oldest son Jake graduate, said that her husband’s mother was actually a teacher at the school while she was a student there.

“All my siblings went here. So we’re a Stang family,” she said.

Jake plans to study business at Suffolk. “It’s a bit of a relief,” joked dad Andy. “’s going to be a little difficult sending him off to college.”

Everywhere parents, siblings, and friends were hugging, laughing and taking photos hurriedly as the first few drops of a forecasted rain shower fell.

New graduate Amy Gueye, from Fall River, called the day “surreal.”

“It felt like everything just went by really fast,” she said.

Gueye plans to study clinical psychology at UMass Amherst in the fall.

Amy’s father Cheikh was happy with his daughter’s accomplishment. “It’s been a long four years,” he said. “I am very proud.”