Closing Exercises at St. Joseph’s College

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Closing Exercises at St. Joseph’s College
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Memramcook, June 22. Commencement day is virtually over. While we write, the students are making preparations to take the train, which in an hour or two will be bearing a large portion of them to “That spot on earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.” “There is no place like home,” has been the strain in which their voices have blended in unison of ten times during the past few days, and “Home, Sweet Home” is the refrain with which every heart beat and every pulse throb is now keeping time in jubilant exultation. Pure, unclouded happiness is beaming on every countenance, and bright anticipation of kindly greetings and a pleasant vacation, chase before them the saddening thoughts engendered by the parting of old and loved associates. But we digress. We intended to give an account of the closing exercises, and instead are fast drifting in to a discoursive essay on the pleasure of the student’s return home. To come to our subject: At ten p. m. [sic] this morning began the exercises, the conclusion of which terminated the Scholastic year of ’79 and ’80. The programme opened with the “Jockey Club Gallop” by the band. The lively measure was in keeping with the general light-heartedness, and as usual was rendered in a praiseworthy manner. After an appropriate French chorus, “Le Jour des Prix,” came the oration of the day. Mr. John Boden, whose class will graduate in ’82, was the orator, and he chose for his subject, “Getting on in New Brunswick.” The impression he has left upon the minds of his hearers is that he is blessed with a more mature judgment and a greater fund of what is usually termed practical common sense, than the ordinary college student receives credit for possessing. We do not mean by this that he bore no semblance of the traditional youthful orator. His imagery discovered an exuberant fancy and his periods showed a delicate perception of harmonious cadence; but beneath the beauty of language there was a substance of thought that precluded all idea of his sacrificing sense to sound. Space will not permit us to give even a brief outline of his discourse, but we may mention one idea that he possesses in common with many older thinkers in our province. He said that religion, integrity and determination he considered passports to success in this country, and that did our young men have these passports, there would be no occasion for an exodus. Mr. Boden’s effort may well be termed a successful one, and we beg to add our congratulations to the many already received from an appreciative audience. Several declamations were delivered during the entertainment, and in all, the speakers acquitted themselves admirably. Valedictory addresses were spoken by Mr. H. L. O’Brien, of Bathurst, and Mr. H. Belliveau, of Memramcook. The latter’s address, our limited knowledge of French prevented us from criticising but the applause that greeted its conclusion argued well for the young gentleman’s success. Mr. O’Brien’s valedictory being in English, we appreciated it more fully and will not be accused of exaggeration when we assert that it was an intellectual treat, of itself sufficient to repay the audience for their attendance. Standing on the boundary line which divides the secluded college world from the battlefield of actual life he delighted to pause before taking the final step, and dwell for a moment on the fond, well beloved scenes of his youthful trials and pleasures; to cast a long sad look on the friendly countenance of cherished companions he might see no more; and force the utterance of that one word which loving hearts so reluctantly suffer our lips to form – farewell. Then turning to his fellow graduates, he exhorted them to enter the arena with high hopes and courageous hearts, to wield manfully the arms they had forged within St. Joseph’s Hall, and to pursue their course towards honourable success until they entered the charmed circle where victory sits waiting to crown perseverance.. A chorus “There’s rest for thee at Home,” was very creditably sung, and “La Troubador” by the band followed; and then came the distribution of premiums. A gold medal for proficiency in English literature, presented by Rev. H. S. Blodgett (’73) of Dover, New Hampshire, was awarded to John Boden, of Portland, N.B., the orator of the day. W. Hache, of Grand Digue, Kent Co., received the Lorne Silver Medal, for success in the classes; and F. L. Carney, of St. John, obtained the Lorne Bronze Medal competed for in the mathematical course. Several of the students received a large number of premiums, Frank Sweeny, of Botsford, heading the list with ten. At the conclusion of the distribution, the Rev. Superior made a few happy remarks and consigned the collegiate term of ’79 and ’80 to the realms of the past.