As members from the Class of 2023 Walk Across the stage transforming from high school students to high school graduates, they, their teachers, and past alumni reflect on what it means to make it through Catholic Memorial.
Commencement at Catholic Memorial has taken many forms throughout the years. Whether the ceremony is held at O’Connor Stadium or down the road at Holy Name Parish, it remains a celebration of achievement for students and their families. As the 118 members of the Class of 2023 prepare to join a group of over 11,200 CM alumni, their walk across the stage to receive their diploma will be filled with emotion as their year goes into the annuls of school history. These boys’ impressions along with those from teachers and alumni through the ages are captured below to show that, no matter the graduating year, the passage of rite, that walk across the stage, remains the same. Or as Brother Anthony Cavet familiarly notes, “These boys are not much different than their fathers and uncles.”
Here are their reflections:
“When I came to CM, my goal was to make my parents proud. That’s why I wanted to set a good example by pushing my hardest in academics or doing extra sprints at track practice even though I wasn’t the fastest sprinter. By graduating, it shows that those labors paid off.” — Dominic Olohan ’23, this year’s Valedictorian
CM alumni often look back at graduation as a collective celebration. It’s not only about them but also about
their friends who graduated with them, their family members who cheered them on, and how the hard work at
CM prepared them for their post-CM lives.
“My parents moved from an East Boston triple-decker to West Roxbury in 1957 when they heard that the Christian Brothers had opened a school in West Roxbury. As I crossed the stage in 1973 with my certificate, I caught their eyes and was moved by their obvious pride, and sheer joy, over the realization of the commitment they had made as young parents sixteen years earlier. A CM diploma represents student achievement, yes, but just as much, it should be a lifetime’s reminder of a faculty’s selfless dedication and a family’s loving devotion. Cherish it.” — Brian Leary ’73
“The thing I remember most about my graduation was seeing how far my friends had come. It was nice to see where everyone was going and their achievements. Since I didn’t go the traditional college route and instead went into the military after graduation, it was important that CM instilled in me the standards of being honest and having integrity.” — Ryan Flynn ’22
“I was fortunate to spend four years with my friends at CM, but I knew graduation wasn’t the end. I knew those connections I made as a member of the speech and debate team and on the tennis court weren’t going to end at graduation and I would see everyone again in college or elsewhere. When I watched my brothers graduate from CM, I was reminded of my experiences, and it expanded my understanding of the connections I made at this school.” — Ryan Julian ‘18
“My friends were important to me and the night before graduation, I panicked because I thought I would never see them again. The next day at graduation, I was so nervous that when I walked to the podium to get my diploma from the Commencement speaker, Senator Ted Kennedy, I tripped and fell on him. I thought his security was going to get me! He thought it was hilarious, wished me good luck in the Navy, and helped me up.” — Frank Calisi ’77
By the time graduation day arrives it becomes apparent that many who are about to receive their diplomas are not the same boys they were when they walked into the school on their first day. During their CM journeys, students often discover a new talent or realize that they have more to offer than one sport or a single interest. They learn that being onedimensional is not what makes a person grow, but that trying new things and experiencing new challenges is the path a CM Knight must take.
“I was a terror in seventh grade. I had no filter and didn’t care about school. The community changed me and helped build me up. If you go it alone, you’re not going to change, but when you’re on teams and attending retreats, you realize you want to build each other up. If you grow together as well, it’s like a mutual expansion.” — Johnny Cardarelli ’23
Things didn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes there was adversity or a sense of frustration that threw students off their path. But when they fell, there was a member of the CM community to give them a hand up, a little guidance, or just who could just sit and listen.
“Coming to CM, I was optimistic about who I was going to be and meant to be. Mr. Rufo, Mr. Goode, and Coach DiBiaso all helped me get there. Mr. Rufo taught me to know when to mess around and when to lock back in. Coach Goode and Coach DiBiaso both helped me be a man built for others, be reliable for others, and make sure we’re working and growing as a team. They helped me grow as a man of faith and a leader.” — Mickey Doyle ’23
“I wasn’t always able to help my team as a soccer captain, and that brought me down. Mr. Hill lifted me. He helped me get back on my feet as the captain and when I returned, it was like I never left.” — Jaylin Rainford ’23
Finally, the teachers who helped them get to that final day couldn’t be prouder. They took the time in the classroom and helped make the post-CM dreams of many students possible. For them, watching students receive their diplomas is a culmination of that love and effort.
“I have the benefit of teaching kids from nine through 12 so for me, it’s the growth. You remember them coming to the high school bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. You think of the growth they’ve shown, and how they are leaving as men. They may not remember all the books they read, but they remember the perseverance, the grit, and how to ask for help.” — Brian Clarke
“When you’re in middle school, you’re on training wheels, and we try to create an environment for the students to thrive while providing a bridge to a successful high school career. Many come back to visit Donahue Hall around graduation because they got their start in the middle school and even around graduation, they still feel that connection. When you see them graduate, it’s fulfilling to see them succeed, especially the ones who had their highs and lows and overcame challenging obstacles.” — Mary Concannon
“One thing I think is every year is that good, smart kids are getting their due in public. To quote Edmund Ignatius Rice ‘Have courage; the good seed will grow up in the children's hearts later on.’” — Br. Anthony Cavet