At Bishop Brady, seniors graduate alongside special honoree

Bishop Brady graduates Morgan Casey (left), and Farhaan Siddiqui process into the gymnasium during the school graduation on Friday evening, June 7, 2024.

Bishop Brady graduates Morgan Casey (left), and Farhaan Siddiqui process into the gymnasium during the school graduation on Friday evening, June 7, 2024. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Twins Laura and Alan Yap process into the Bishop Brady gymnasium during graduation on Friday evening.

Twins Laura and Alan Yap process into the Bishop Brady gymnasium during graduation on Friday evening. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

A parent uses a cell phone to record the Bishop Brady graduation in the gymnasium of the Concord private school on Friday evening.

A parent uses a cell phone to record the Bishop Brady graduation in the gymnasium of the Concord private school on Friday evening. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

By MICHAELA TOWFIGHI

Monitor staff

Published: 06-08-2024 12:14 PM

Farhaan Siddiqui knows how to use the Python programming language, and was running scripts for the University of New Hampshire’s engineering school as a high school student. But away from his computer, he gravitated to a different challenge – scaling a rock wall at his climbing gym in Concord.

He saw a video of competitive rock climbers on YouTube while in high school – they’d race across a bouldering wall, climbing then falling on repeat. The videos were amusing, if not intriguing. He joined Bishop Brady’s rock climbing club and spent afternoons weekly at the gym with his classmates.

“I wanted to do something that I didn’t normally do,” he said.

Siddiqui, the class valedictorian, will head to Columbia University in the fall where he plans to study computer science in the engineering school. When his class started at Bishop Brady in 2020, the year was marked by muted smiles behind masks. But it was a crash course in learning to control their responses to a situation no one could change, he said.

“We’ve overcome countless challenges by standing together,” he said.

When thinking about the graduating class of 63 students, there’s a key person in Alan Yap’s day-to-day – his twin sister Laura. It’s hard to imagine what the fall will hold when they arrive at different colleges 852 miles away. Alan will attend the University of Notre Dame and Laura is headed to the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.

“When I don’t end up seeing her at all on a daily basis, it’s going to be something new,” said Alan.

Both of their experiences at Bishop Brady can be marked by success on the field hockey field for Laura, and on the track for Alan.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Opinion: A look at the Elderly Property Tax Exemption
Many Hopkinton residents say it’s time to get rid of the pay-by-bag program
As Concord city council debates bus stop location, larger concerns about homelessness continue
Documents show N.H. teacher took student for abortion
State: Don’t worry about the pine trees shedding needles
Concord crew team rows its way to a national title

Freshman, sophomore and junior years, the field hockey team made it to state championships. This year, Laura was named Division III defensive player of the year. Alan’s time competing for Bishop Brady wasn’t quite finished despite graduating. On Saturday, he was due to run in a 4x100 relay at the New England outdoor track and field championship.

It’s these experiences out of the classroom that defined students’ experiences at Bishop Brady, said Morgan Casey, the class president and salutatorian.

Her interest in government took her to the New Hampshire State House, where she worked with state representatives to draft a bill to address the student loan crisis in the state.

While she plans to study government at Harvard University in the fall, she hopes to see her bill – which would allow for high school students to earn college credits for volunteer hours – in front of the legislature. Casey has worked alongside Rep. David Luneau, a Hopkinton Democrat, and Rep. Kris Schultz, a Concord Democrat, to draft the proposal.

On Casey’s graduation gown, she had a medal for salutatorian, a yellow sash for class president, a state flag pin for New Hampshire scholars and the SNHU logo for dual enrollment. These decorations were achievements that all her classmates could be proud of, she said.

“Bishop Brady is small, but we are mighty,” she said. “We are a group of committed individuals who have left our mark.”

One honoree, in particular, Hayley Smiglowski, left her mark on the Bishop Brady community, said Principal Andrea Elliot.

For three years, Smiglowski has spent her Fridays volunteering at the school – delivering materials to teachers and helping admissions prepare for events. Bishop Brady is where her three brothers went to school. But she was never able to attend herself. Smiglowski, 37, has Down syndrome.

But in a black cap and gown, Smiglowski received an honorary diploma with the graduates.

“Fridays with Haley will always be a memory I carry forth from Bishop Brady,” said Elliot.“Though her mom says Brady has done so much for Hayley, I have to disagree. Hayley has done so much more for our community…It truly is a beautiful experience.