AWH Class of 1964 Salutes Gallagher & Gantley

Archbishop Williams High School inducted 11 people into its Athletic Hall of Fame March 27 – two of them were from the Class of 1964, my class.

More than 40 of us from the class went to the dinner at the Lantana where one of our members, Dr. Carmen Mariano, who is now the school’s president, told us what a great school Archbishop Williams continues to be.

Jack Gantley was on the varsity football team for all four of his years at AWH. He was honored for his contributions to a team that seldom experienced loss. In fact there were only two losses and one tie in all his four years on the team. Coach Armond Columbo, Jack’s coach and friend, made the presentation. Jack is a retired US Navy captain now living in Florida with his wife. He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and achieved his career success inUS Special Operations Forces.

He made us all proud.

Then there was George Gallagher. George was one of the brightest students in our class.  He was honored for his excellence in track and cross country. I don’t remember a pep rally for the track team back in ’64 but it was great to hear the cheerleaders from our class chant “George Gallagher” as he walked to the podium Saturday. He set a 300 meter tri-county league record in 1964 that wasn’t matched until 1979. He did it all on cinder track, without any practice space. He is a dentist who is a professor at Boston University. He still runs, in fact he has completed the Boston Marathon twice – both times he beat three hours.

Today AWH has a state of the art track at a sports facility near the school. When I started at AWH, we didn’t even have our own football field. We borrowed public school space. Maybe adversity has its plus side.

We remember what the school meant to us back when we were students.  School pride wasn’t invented in the 21st Century. But we were children back then. We all had our share of insecurity and anxiety.

Since then we’ve moved on, created families and careers. Coped with loss and personal challenges. Built success and faced failure. That’s not one or two of us. We share the normal passages of a lifetime. Some of us from the AWH Class of ’64 remained close friends over the years. Most of us went our separate ways. But a few years ago my classmates began getting together for dinner from time to time.

I think we’ve finally come back together.