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  Sunday, April 20, 2014
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To the Class of 1951
By Kevin Devlin

     Wilfred F. Kelley addresses the South Boston High School graduating class of 1951

     The more things change, the more they stay the same. In 1951, on the fiftieth anniversary of the school, the Head Master, Mr. Wilfred Kelley penned this letter to the graduates. The relevance of many of his statements, undeterred by time, cannot be denied.

     “You have the unique privilege of being members of the Golden Jubilee Graduating Class of the South Boston High School. Fifty years have passed into history. It was an inspiring sight to meet the graduates of our school at the Fiftieth Anniversary Reunion held recently at the school. Here could be found leaders in every walk of life—the professions, the business world, the religious life and high ranking officers in our armed forces. All are men and women of sound character and high ideals.

     In 1901 when our school opened, the United States had just come of age in International Affairs. Our participation in the Spanish War and the acquisition of the Philippines made us conscious of our international responsibilities. Since then we have fought in two World Wars and at the present time are carrying the load in the United Nations fight against Communist China’s aggression in Korea.

     We stand for world peace, justice, and freedom for all people. Unfortunately, the leaders of communism stand for world revolution and subjection of man’s natural rights everywhere.

     The world looks to the United States for leadership not only in international affairs, but also in assisting other nations to live a better economic life. This responsibility means that each of you must do your best in whatever capacity you find yourself.

     Some of you will be in college, some in the armed service and many will be employed in the business world. Do not be afraid to accept responsibility; but once accepted, do not shirk your duty even if it requires more of your time and energy.

     In a few years you will have the privilege of voting. This is a precious heritage and should be treasured and used by each of you. Become a part of an alert and intelligent citizenry by taking the time to study the men and the issues on the local, state, and national level. Remember, “Republics fall when the wise are banished from public office because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people in order to betray them.”

     May your influence for God and Country be great in the next fifty years! May each of you live a life which will bring you every happiness and success! May each of you celebrate your Fiftieth Anniversary along with the school’s One Hundredth Anniversary in 2001.”



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