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Firsts, lasts for St. Paul’s Form of 2014

  • Cathy Green wishes St. Paul's School Form of 2014 graduate Jangho Ro congratulations prior to commencement exercises on Sunday, June 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    Cathy Green wishes St. Paul's School Form of 2014 graduate Jangho Ro congratulations prior to commencement exercises on Sunday, June 1, 2014. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • St. Paul's School Form of 2014 graduate Eleanor Reich is pinned by Mary Blackwell prior to Sunday's commencement ceremonies.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    St. Paul's School Form of 2014 graduate Eleanor Reich is pinned by Mary Blackwell prior to Sunday's commencement ceremonies. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • St. Paul's School Form of 2014 President Joseph Fennessy calls out the order of diplomas as graduates prepare to march from the chapel for commencement on Sunday, June 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    St. Paul's School Form of 2014 President Joseph Fennessy calls out the order of diplomas as graduates prepare to march from the chapel for commencement on Sunday, June 1, 2014. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • St. Paul's School Form of 2014 march in to a standing room only crowd for commencement exercises on Sunday, June 1 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    St. Paul's School Form of 2014 march in to a standing room only crowd for commencement exercises on Sunday, June 1 2014. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • Cathy Green wishes St. Paul's School Form of 2014 graduate Jangho Ro congratulations prior to commencement exercises on Sunday, June 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • St. Paul's School Form of 2014 graduate Eleanor Reich is pinned by Mary Blackwell prior to Sunday's commencement ceremonies.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • St. Paul's School Form of 2014 President Joseph Fennessy calls out the order of diplomas as graduates prepare to march from the chapel for commencement on Sunday, June 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • St. Paul's School Form of 2014 march in to a standing room only crowd for commencement exercises on Sunday, June 1 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

Joseph Fennessy didn’t get into St. Paul’s School the first time he applied.

His second application to the private school, situated on 2,000 bucolic acres off Pleasant Street, was accepted, and he didn’t hesitate in taking advantage of the opportunity. Fennessy was one of 138 students in St. Paul’s Form of 2014, which graduated yesterday on a sun-drenched afternoon.

“I learned that everything has a way of working itself out, and there’s no place I’d rather be than with you today,” said Fennessy, class president, recipient of the school’s Presidential Medal and future Notre Dame University student.

It was an interesting year, Fennessy said, that started with a school bonfire in September that turned into a marshmallow fight and continued with a holiday party in December where students wore ugly sweaters.

This spring, the “sixth form” students, or senior class, held the school’s first-ever senior class prom, which Fennessy joked was by default the best one in school history. “The evening almost seemed surreal. Even the mocktails and scallops wrapped in bacon couldn’t

weigh us down while we were surrounded by our best friends and danced the night away,” he said.

“We know how to have a good time. We know how to have a good time together. We just like being around each other and took advantage of every opportunity.”

Following school tradition, boys wore white carnations pinned to their jacket lapels, while girls donned red carnations on their dresses. The graduation ceremony was followed by a procession where every student shook hands with faculty members lined up next to one of the on-campus ponds.

In saying goodbye to the Form of 2014, St. Paul’s School would be seeing off a class known for its “consistent scholarship, creativity, athletic grace, willing service, boundless energy and enthusiasm” and their “unending pursuit of excellence and your desire to leave this school a better place,” said Michael Hirschfeld, St. Paul’s 13th rector.

They were among the most spirited of supporters of anything bearing The Pelicans – the school mascot’s – insignia. “I can say with some measure of confidence your form as superfans did much to sustain the face paint industry,” he said.

The graduating class has known two rectors, two deans of students and three different daily schedules. They were the last class to study science and math in two of the campus’s historic buildings.

“This day belongs to you. Your form has been a part of some major and not-so-major events in St. Paul’s School history,” Hirschfeld said.

“Above all, you have been faithful guardians of relationships with faculty, staff and with each other, relationships that are the soul of our school,” Hirschfeld said to the class. “Your form has demonstrated to other students and to the rest of us the quality of kindness that is so essential to the meaning of St. Paul’s School.”

(Iain Wilson can be reached at 369-3313 or iwilson@cmonitor.com.)

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