Thursday, June 20, 1919. A large audience crowded into the Alice Phillips School Hall for the Wellesley High School graduation exercises for seven boys and 17 girls.
Friday, June 7, 2019. An overflow of families crowded into the bleachers at Hunnewell Field for the school’s 150th graduation exercises. In the end, the nearly 400 students tossed their caps into the air.
Both ceremonies featured music, speeches, and presentation of the class gift (in 1919, a bronze plaque honoring three graduates who had given their lives for their country).
The Townsman reported that Prof. Perrin, for many years superintendent of the Wellesley Public Schools, remarked about "the great good that the war had wrought for the country," then moved on to the service the teachers had given.)
In 1919, Miss Charlotte Greenbank, who was leaving the school after many years of service, received a gift of a dainty wrist watch, paid for by alumni. A hundred years later, a smiling Lynne Novogroski, retiring after 49 years, led the Class of 2019 onto the field.
Were a video available of both ceremonies, the much larger size of today’s class would be immediately obvious. So would the diversity of the student body.
But there were many timeless moments and remarks.
Matt Haverty, who gave the student commencement speech, had the audience laughing at many points. But he also told his classmates something that would have applied to the 24 students sitting in the Alice Phillips Hall 100 years ago.
“High school graduation is not the end of your life. It’s barely the start,” he said. ”And that can be scary, but it’s also incredibly exciting."