By David Benoit
Special to the Reporter
At St. Kevin's School, the final day was
celebrated with a special mass for the school.
Tears and laughter and plenty of song carried off
the students inside the chapel on Columbia Road.
Fr. Tim Kearney, a former St. Kevin's
seventh-grade teacher, celebrated the Friday
morning service. Thirteen Sisters of Charity, the
order that ran the school, were in attendance, most
former faculty members. Alumni crowded the back
pews behind the students, and afterward
re-introduced themselves to their former teachers.
There were fond memories and hopes for the
"I remember Fr. [Joseph] Kierce used to
say 'I want to die with my sneakers on, want to die
running,'" recalled Pierre Monette Jr., class of
1978, speaking of the former pastor who was so
integral into the success of the school. Monette
served as the commencement speaker at the school's
graduation the night before, and remembered his
graduation fondly. "We had the song Always and
Forever as our graduation song, and that's what we
said, we would come back here always and
One of the more unique perspectives of the
bittersweet day came from Sr. Maryann Sherlock, a
member of the very first graduating class from St.
Kevin's, and a former 13-year teacher and principal
of the school.
"It was just a wonderful experience and to look
back at St. Kevin's, I just feel that I have been
certainly blessed," she said. "It is shutting its
door in one way, because it is closing, but never
fully. They will continue to be a part of providing
a Catholic education to children in the inner city,
and that is very important."
Kearney's homily captivated the students with
props and stories, as he tried to tell them how
much their education at the school would matter. As
the altar in front of him filled with students and
blow up rafts and boats, snorkeling gear, beach
chairs, and a large inflatable shark, Kearney told
the children what the school had already taught
"They have taught you directions, taught you to
go out and have some fun, to explore new things,
and that you have great expectations," he said.
"Bring the good lessons you learned here where you
go. Remember all the wonderful things you were
taught here and St. Kevin's will continue for years
The children belted out the music and clapped
enthusiastically, even at some inappropriate times,
but showed that they were celebrating not just the
start of their summer vacation, but the legacy of
"It's been like my family and I've grown up
here," said Jasmine Thermitos, a seventh grader who
will go to Pope John Paul II Academy next fall,
though she said she will always remember the
teachers she had. "It's going to be fun, a new
As the students filed out to the buses and their
parents for the last time in the 62-year school's
history, there was some sadness, but mostly
"They may be shutting the doors on it," said
Monette, "but St. Kevin's will continue to live."
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