Brothers graduate together from Bow High School

Brothers Shannon McGrade, middle left, and brother, Ryan, middle right, line up to process into the stage of the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College, ready to graduate with the Bow High School class of 2024.

Brothers Shannon McGrade, middle left, and brother, Ryan, middle right, line up to process into the stage of the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College, ready to graduate with the Bow High School class of 2024. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Borthers Shannon McGrade and brother, Ryan (center) get a group hug from their friends as they line up to process into the stage of the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College, ready to graduate with the Bow High School class of 2024.

Borthers Shannon McGrade and brother, Ryan (center) get a group hug from their friends as they line up to process into the stage of the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College, ready to graduate with the Bow High School class of 2024. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Twins Gavin, left, and Ryan McCabe will be heading to the College of the Holy Cross this fall.

Twins Gavin, left, and Ryan McCabe will be heading to the College of the Holy Cross this fall. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

One of the many caps adorned with artwork at the Bow graduation on Friday.

One of the many caps adorned with artwork at the Bow graduation on Friday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 06-15-2024 8:49 AM

For most graduates, the best part of high school is the friends and memories made along the way. But for Shannon McGrade, it was the food.

“Pizza at the cafeteria,” Shannon McGrade said with a bright smile. This special needs student was beaming as he stood with his best friend and brother, Ryan, behind the stage of the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College, ready to graduate with the Bow High School class of 2024.

For the last six years, the brothers have spent their time in Bow side by side playing unified basketball and soccer together, taking classes and bus rides, and even partnering with each other on a cooking class.

“High school was pretty good, especially together,” said Ryan, glancing at his brother. “We’ve been to school together all our lives. So it’s pretty cool to graduate with him.”

The McGrades were not the only siblings graduating together from Bow High School on Friday evening. 

Gavin and Ryan McCabe, twins, will be heading to the College of Holy Cross together for their undergraduate studies, with Gavin focusing on political science and Ryan pursuing economics.

Like most students at Bow High School, the McCabe brothers felt the school allowed them to explore their interests fully. They played sports, participated in theater, and joined several clubs.

“The fact that we can be involved in so many different things feels good,” said Ryan McCabe. “Bow is special in that standpoint for people like us.”

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Gavin McCabe described his time at Bow as almost perfect, saying he has no regrets.“If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t make any different decisions,” he said.

As the graduation ceremony began, the energy of the 135 graduating Falcons, each in their blue robes, filled the room. They were ready to step into the next chapter of their lives. 

Some will be joining the military, some will become firefighters and EMTs, and some will study in different states. But in their hearts will always remain in Bow, as everyone ended their speeches with “Falcons fly forever.”

Melanie Labreque, delivering her student address, highlighted how the students at Bow have supported one another through ups and downs.

In sophomore year, Labreque was hospitalized for months. Her classmates and friends sent her emails, letters, and gifts, and talked to her for hours to make sure she didn’t feel isolated and to keep her spirits high.

“Through that experience, I realized that people in this class and the teachers in the school can make even the darkest days a little bit more bearable, more manageable,” said Labreque.

It was evident when the students walked to the stage to get their diplomas that the loudest cheers came from their classmates.

When Shannon McGrade went up to receive his diploma, he did a little happy dance with Principal Brian O’Connell. He will have one more year in high school before joining Project SEARCH at Concord Hospital, a career development program.

After that, he plans to join his brother at the University of New Hampshire.

Shannon said he was going to miss his brother.

“He’s already said he’s gonna take my room, so he can’t miss me that much,” joked Ryan.