Bishop Brady grads sent off in a barrage of millenial symbols

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017, including Ciara Labbe (center), celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Ryan Racy walks across the stage during graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Valedictorian Rachel Bittman celebrates her graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Keaton Nichols walks across the stage during graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017 celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017 celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Seniors Jordan Bergeron and Katherine Dailey sing "For Good" from the musical "Wicked" during graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017 celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017 celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017 celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017 celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017 celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017 celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The Bishop Brady class of 2017 celebrates their graduation at Bishop Brady High School on Friday, June 9, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Valedictorian Rachel Bittman makes a “dab” gesture at the end of her address during Friday’s graduation ceremony at the Bishop Brady High School gymnasium in Concord. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/9/2017 11:57:56 PM

Rachel Bittman, the valedictorian, said she was tempted to bask in her title and go on as if she were more perfect than she is.

But instead, she cast aside her vanity and challenged her classmates at Bishop Brady High School to do the same, to truly know themselves – the good and the bad – and confront their weaknesses.

“This is the path of excellence, to recognize our imperfection, to look at it without fear, and to take measured and reasonable steps to change that imperfection into strength,” she said.

And even as they leave behind the green and yellow of the Thomas Hardiman gymnasium, Bittman said she’ll be there for them – in the most millennial of ways.

“If you ever need a pal, at any time of day or night – literally, I’m up at all hours – hit me up. I’m on Insta. I’m on Facebook. I’m on Snapchat,” she said, listing the names of three social media platforms.

Bishop Brady’s graduating Class of 2017 was the largest in 17 years, Principal Andrea Elliot said. The graduates – boys in green, girls in white – collected in a hallway as bagpipe music played inside the jam-packed gym and entered side by side past flashing cameras and teary-eyed parents.

Elliot said the Concord-based Catholic school drew attendance from around the world, with 19 international students from seven countries graduating in the school’s 54th commencement.

“We are proud to display the flags of Australia, China, Germany, Italy, Latvia, South Korea and Sweden on the front of our stage this evening,” she said.

Together, the class logged more than 10,000 hours of community service, Elliot said.

Salutatorian Ravalika Damerla impressed on her classmates to use the momentous occasion of graduation to make note of the memories they want to hold onto – and ditch the ones they’d rather forget.

“The way I think of it is like when your phone tells you that it has run out of storage,” she said, “so you have to go back through all those years of duck-face selfies and braces and acne and pick the precious few photos that really mean something to you to keep.”

She added: “Who knows. Maybe 20 years from now, we’ll remember Jake Smith’s epic dance moves, or cheering the boys’ basketball team on to the championship, or storming the field in the pouring rain at homecoming, or sitting in a desk in English class and wondering how a test on The Hobbit could possibly be so hard.”

As the seniors crossed the stage to become graduates, they pumped their fists in the air, and proud parents sprung up in their seats with cameras in hand.

In her send-off, after announcing her social media availability, Bittman announced that she had “one last thing.”

“We crushed it team,” she said, ducking her head into the crook of her bent left arm, while raising her other arm out straight in a celebratory gesture known as a “dab.”

With that, the Class of 2017 rose from its seats in a standing ovation that slowly proceeded to the farthest reaches of the bleachers.

 

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)




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