last blue class to hold a Class Day

last class to have Class Day

2019 decorations

original Class Day shovel

Member of the class of '68 still his beanie!

After a Two-Year Pause, Class Day Tradition Returns for Seniors

by Aidan O'Sullivan, 2022

The penultimate celebration of graduating seniors before graduation, Class Day will return to Somerville High on Friday, June 3, always taking place on the Friday before graduation. The event did not take place the previous two years due to the pandemic.

The History:

Before 1912, Somerville had two high schools: Somerville English and Somerville Latin. When they eventually combined, they held a graduation ceremony where a spade was presented to the president of the junior class as a symbolic way of passing down traditions and asking the younger classes to “guard them well.” From this point, this tradition began to be called Class Day. There were other schools who held the ceremony as well, but Somerville’s has persisted where nearly all others have fallen away.

The Ceremony:

To begin the day, seniors gather and are separated into companies. The National Honor Society and the senior class are split into companies, including NHS1 and NHS2 with all other companies lettered from A to J. During graduation, students will be in these same companies, though even non-graduating seniors may participate in Class Day.

The seniors are then led into the auditorium by teacher company leaders and junior volunteers known as the honor guard. Assistant principals read what each student noted as their greatest accomplishment in high school, as well as their post-graduate plans. Students may choose to have nothing read.

In attendance will be two eighth graders from each elementary school in the city, as well as members of the Somerville High graduating class from 50 years prior. Because Class Day was not held the previous two years, this year’s event will include members from Somerville’s classes of 1970, ‘71, and ‘72.

After each student’s accomplishments have been read, the class poem and song are performed. Students are able to submit class poems which will be read blind and voted on by a representative group of seniors. That student reads the poem at both Class Day and graduation. Similarly, the class song is also written by one or more members of the class, often with one person or group writing the lyrics and another person or group writing the music and also to be performed at both events.

The day continues as the band leads the companies from the auditorium to the area in front of the school. Senior class officers then lead the ceremony, which includes the National Anthem and the handing down of the colors and the original 1912 spade to the junior class president. The year of each class is engraved on the handle. The program ends with the singing of J. Everett Bodge’s school song, “Somerville Leads the Way.” He wrote it in 1937, his senior year, and students have been singing it ever since.

The day ends with an outdoor lunch in front of the building for all participants. Seniors will also receive their yearbooks after the ceremony has concluded.

Graduation will be held on Monday, June 6, at Dilboy field.

If you would like to get the flavor of Class Day, here is a video of the indoor portion of the program from 2019, the last year we were able to have one.