Blast From the Past: June 1944

Azusa Lippit, Around School Editor

Each year, the CRLS community gathers to hold a graduation ceremony, awarding diplomas to the graduating seniors and sending them off after four years of high school. The June edition of the Rindge Register, one of the Register Forum’s ancestors, featured a story about graduation entitled “142 Boys In 1944 Graduating Class.” This graduation, however, was quite different than the CRLS graduation ceremony this year. In addition to graduating exactly seventy-five years earlier, the 1944 senior class at Rindge graduated on D-Day. On this day, the United States and the Allied Forces had invaded France in order to free Western Europe from Nazi Germany. This day was an immensely meaningful moment for the graduates and their families, as “twenty-three of [the diplomas] were presented to the parents of the boys who graduated but are now in the service.” During their speeches at this year’s graduation in 2019, Mayor Marc McGovern and Superintendent Kenneth Salim both wished luck to those going on to the military as well.

With a remarkable fluidity, the author of the article moved on from the subject of war and graduates who are enlisted to mention a few of the other, more traditional events that used to be part of graduation ceremonies. The article references an “interesting” presentation about experiments with liquid air by the student with the “highest honors,” a class gift, and a moving up tradition for juniors in which “colors were transferred,” all of which are no longer performed during CRLS graduation ceremonies. The presentation of the diplomas by the mayor, however, still goes on to this day.

Another significant difference between the 1944 ceremony and this year’s graduation was that in 1944, Cambridge was divided into two high schools: the all-boys Rindge School of Technical Arts and the co-ed Cambridge High and Latin School. This article was from the Rindge newspaper, the Rindge Register, and thus referenced an all-male graduating class. The Cambridge public high school community became fully co-ed when the two schools merged in 1977, roughly the time when nearby high schools were also welcoming co-ed classes.

Considering the issues that plague our world today, tragedy is still frequently incorporated into joyous occasions like graduation. Seeing and understanding the reality of attending and graduating high school during a time of a world war is shocking, but documentation like this article helps us to stay connected to the past. The Rindge Register was still able to produce monthly articles throughout the length of the war, showing that CRLS has a history of persevering through even the most difficult moments.