READING, MA — Service was a word used frequently at Austin Preparatory School’s commencement exercises on June 6, as the 113 members of the class of 2015 were reminded that small acts of service can have as positive an impact on society as large ones.
MBTA Patrol Sgt. Richard “Dic” Donohue Jr., the commencement speaker, said there are many options on how to answer the call to serve others – whether it be to serve your country, your community, or simply your neighbors and family.
“Whatever you do, whichever way you choose to serve, make sure you stay positive in the challenging times, embrace all the good times, and seize the opportunity to make an impact on the world,” Sgt. Donohue said.
Sgt. Donohue has been on both the giving and receiving end of service. He was critically injured in the April 2013 search for the Boston Marathon bombers. He is grateful not only to the other officers, emergency responders and medical professionals who helped save his life, but also to those who offered assistance in other ways. There were people who watched his 6-month old son so his wife could be with him in the hospital, people who mowed his lawn, brought the family groceries, and offered kind words and prayers.
“The simplest acts of service are what showed me the best in humanity,” he said. “Being a good neighbor, a good family member, or a good friend is part of you living your life of service.
Everyday service was also part of the advice given by Austin Prep Headmaster James Hickey to the graduates.
“St. Augustine said, ‘If you aspire to great things begin with the little ones. And it’s the little things on the journey that are paradoxically gigantic,’ ” Dr. Hickey of Andover said. “The success of living the Austin mission on the journey ahead is mainly about what you will do for others. How you will serve them. You know this. You have been taught this. It’s been imprinted on your hearts. You live this.”
Valedictorian Matthew Bouchard of North Reading said each member of his class has a talent, gift or specialty, as well as an obligation to use it in service to others.
“We cannot sleep, wait and wish for something to happen – we must get up and act. It is far more rewarding to be an active hero who takes initiative rather than a passive bystander,” Matt said. “Know that the future is bright for the class of 2015 and that your skills will light the way.”
Salutatorian Eric Chaykovsky of Tewksbury reflected that the class of 2015 is ready to continue serving others as the graduates begin the next part of their journey.
“On paper, we appear an incongruous, incompatible group of individuals; but, in actuality, we are closer than even we ourselves realize,” Eric said. “We found that our class, when put to the test, worked together better than anyone could have ever imagined. Our diverse backgrounds made no difference as we easily consolidated our efforts and overcame any obstacle we faced.”
Nearly all 113 graduates of the Reading school are going on to institutions of higher learning, receiving acceptances at more than 550 colleges and universities.
The class of 2015 includes:
- Joseph Connolly of Wilmington will attend Stonehill College.
- Sabrina Fabiano of Wilmington will attend Salve Regina University.
- Ian Perkins of Wilmington will attend Missouri University of Science and Technology.
- Madison Ricci of Wilmington will attend Stevenson University.
- Megan Stone of Wilmington will attend Roger Williams University. She received the Middlesex County Bar Association Good Citizenship Award.
- Lexi Tamburello of Wilmington will attend the College of the Holy Cross. She received the Medal for Social Studies. In addition, she received a President’s Education Award.
- Ashley Weadick of Wilmington will attend the University of Rhode Island.
(NOTE: The above press release was submitted by Austin Prep.)