BY BROOKSI HUDSON
WEST ASHLEY — Blessed Sacrament School held its eighth-grade graduation May 25, but it was no ordinary ceremony. This year’s class was the 50th to graduate since the school’s inception in 1950s.
In the farewell address of the eighth-grade class of 1955, the students spoke of being the first class to graduate under the direction of Sister Judy Therese, a Sister of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, and of their aspirations for the future.
“We were asked to make predictions about the future of our fellow classmates,” the address states. “Some were predicted to become famous actors … even the first woman president. Though these dreams or aspirations may seem far-fetched, we believe that our time here at Blessed Sacrament has started us on the path to success.”
The celebrant for the modern-day graduation Mass was the Very Rev. Joseph Hanley, V.F., pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church and a graduate of the first class in 1955.
Father Hanley said that when he started school there were only kindergarten through second grades, but by the time he was in eighth grade the school had grown and the additional grades had been added.
In Father Hanley’s homily he compared the education that the 2005 graduating class had received up to this point in their lives to a jar of marbles. He told them that each year they add more and more to their jar of knowledge that they can carry through life.
He added that he hoped high school would be a time of growth in maturity, faith, and belief in themselves, and that each one will find his or her own mission in life.
Jack McGovern, director of stewardship and development, commemorated the anniversary by spearheading a development plan slated for completion for the 2006-2007 school year.
“This school has a rich history and we are hoping to put together a group of parents, parishioners, and friends of the school to help rebuild some of the old buildings,” he said.
The buildings that make up the kindergarten wing are original buildings from the 1950s, he explained.
“A large part of the buildings were built by volunteers in the ’50s and ’60s,” he said. “I mean true volunteers. Just a group of able-bodied men and women who came out on their Saturdays and helped build the school.”
Today’s building committee is comprised of parishioners with skills to help. Plans are being reviewed and the next project, the middle school wing, is set for completion this summer.
Construction on the kindergarten should start in January, pending government and diocesan approval.
“With a school so rich in history, the least we can do is preserve our heritage,” McGovern said.
As for this year’s graduating class, Sister Therese hopes that the students will build upon the foundation the school has provided them.
For more information about the anniversary building project, call Jack McGovern at (843) 766-3633.