Bishop Stang to induct inaugural members into Hall of Honors

By Kenneth J. Souza
Anchor Staff
kensouza@anchornews.org

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. — For the first time in its history, Bishop Stang High School will recognize some of the key people who have become the bedrock on which the Catholic high school was built when it inducts an inaugural class of six into the newly-founded Hall of Honors.

“These folks are kind of what I like to call the Mount Rushmore of Bishop Stang,” said Peter Shaughnessy, president and principal of Bishop Stang. “They’re the pillars who have been the most influential in our history. It’s something we’ve been discussing for a long time (and) we’ve been thinking about a way we could honor these important people.”

The six first-time honorees — a collection of four individuals, a couple and a religious order — will be inducted on October 23 during the school’s annual Homecoming Weekend observance.

“A lot of schools do something similar to honor alumni as part of their annual gala, and we may eventually do that, too; but right now, because it’s all new, we felt we would do it as part of Homecoming Weekend,” Shaughnessy said. “It’s aptly timed, but it will be a busy weekend. We have a game on Friday, a dance on Saturday, and then we’ll do this on Sunday.”

The inaugural Bishop Stang High School Hall of Honors will include:

— The late Dr. Arthur Buckley, who served as the chairman of the first campaign committee which founded the school in 1959; 

Patrick and Lilian Carney and family, a couple and whose five children have attended and supported Stang over a 14-year period from 1987 through 2001;

Kathy Crosson, a science teacher who not only inspired generations of Stang students but also founded Missions for Humanity, a charitable effort to help poor communities in Africa and central and south America;

Theresa Dougall, a 1964 graduate of Bishop Stang who would go on to dedicate 44 years of service to the school as teacher, coach, department head, principal and president;

— The late John C. O’Brien, a longtime coach and teacher at Bishop Stang for 24 years; and

— The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, the foundational educators of the school, whose original faculty included Sister Ann Denise, principal; Sister Ann Monica; Sister Bernadette Louise; Sister Helena Margaret; Sister Margaret Joan; and Sister Marie Charlotte.

Shaughnessy said while all nominees were vital to Stang’s advancement over the years, each was chosen for different aspects of service to the school.

“With Dr. Buckley being the chairman of the original (capital) campaign for the school (in 1959), he was integral in helping to build the school,” he said. “He was also the co-chairman of the 1994 campaign, which led to the renovation of our athletic fields.

“With Pat and Lilian Carney, it kind of goes without saying, their impact was immeasurable on the history of Bishop Stang High School. They’re a wonderful family and Pat has continued to be an incredibly generous person.

“Kathy Crosson has been here for 38 years and there’s no better teacher. But then she’s also helped to develop the Missions for Humanity group, and that’s really why we’re recognizing her. Missions for Humanity provides medical supplies for poor communities in Africa and central and south America. She’s been doing that for many years and it’s a hugely positive thing. Many students, alumni and parents of students who are physicians have been involved and have gone with her on those trips.

“Theresa Dougall is a 44-year veteran of the school and she’s done just about everything. She was a teacher, coach, principal, president; and many people would say that she was the best teacher they ever had. I know she inspired many people — a generation, really — who have gone into the science field and on to careers as doctors. She was also an effective and very well-respected administrator and leader of the school.

“The same goes for John O’Brien. I never knew John O’Brien, but clearly he was a guy who always looked out for the underdog and always looked out for the lost sheep. That’s a legacy that we very much need to keep alive. We have a lot of very high-achieving kids, but our mission is not just aimed at those kids — we very much try to keep that watchful eye out for kids who may be socially or academically challenged and who struggle to fit into any high school. I feel that’s all in the spirit of John O’Brien.

“Of course, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur were here for the founding of the school. We see alumni from the 1960s at our reunions and it’s interesting because they always talk about how academically well-prepared they were by the Sisters. And I think that has remained pretty consistent throughout our history — a strong foundation of academic preparation and strong religious and Spiritual formation for kids.”

The selection committee nominated this first class of honorees with the notion that all are members of the greater “Stang family.”

“We’ve had some families who have left amazing legacies at this school as students, then they send their children to the school and now we have grandparents and great-grandparents and they will often become some of our most generous benefactors as well,” Shaughnessy said. “The school couldn’t be what it is for the kids today without these families and these individuals.

“You need that legacy, in the best sense of the word, to continue. It’s not just something that’s in the past, it’s something that continues. And that’s the point we try to make to the current students and alumni — when we say ‘Bishop Stang High School,’ we’re talking about all of our current students and the more than 9,000 alumni who support us in all kinds of ways.”

Shaughnessy said the new Hall of Honors is being implemented in tandem with an Athletics Hall of Fame as part of the school’s 2015-2019 strategic plan. Kicking off with this year’s Hall of Honors, next year they plan to inaugurate an Athletics Hall of Fame and alternate inductees every other year from then on.

“Obviously, both have the same purpose: to recognize the people who have either made a huge impact while they were here (at Stang) or have continued to excel in their careers as alumni,” Shaughnessy said. “And, of course, both of these efforts — the Hall of Honors and the Hall of Fame — provide immeasurable opportunities for us to reconnect and keep strong relations with our alumni.”

Shaughnessy said they will have a designated area — a literal “hall of honors” — near the school’s main entrance to honor these inductees and each will be given their own plaque.

“I think it’s important to recognize people,” he added. “It’s easy to let things go and not say ‘thank you.’ But I think people need to see that every once in a while and know what kind of impact they’ve made.”

For more information about the Hall of Honors, including tickets and sponsorships, contact Jana McHenry, director of Advancement, at jmchenry@bishopstang.org or 508-996-5602, ext. 430, or visit www.bishopstang.org/honors. There are links on the website where you can also share a memory of any of the honorees for them or their family members.


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