Video courtesy Boston Latin School Association.
By: Sharon Aron Baron
Composer Leonard Bernstein, Conductor Arthur Fiedler, and Businessman Joseph Kennedy, all have one thing in common: They were named Distinguished Graduates of the famed Boston Latin School.
Now add Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky to the list.
In September, Hunschofsky received a phone call from Peter Kelly, president of the Boston Latin School Association, telling her about her honor.
Hunschofsky said, “I was shocked and honored and began to tear up.”
For Hunschofsky, it was a considerable achievement to get into the school and graduate. To be named a Distinguished Graduate was the honor of a lifetime.
Katherine Craven, currently the chief administrative and financial officer at Babson College, and Boston Latin School alumna nominated Hunschofsky.
Established in 1635, the Boston Latin School is the oldest and first public school in the country. Although it is public school, Boston Latin School is one of three Boston exam schools where acceptance is based on entrance exam test scores and GPA. Students must live in Boston in order to attend. Other notable graduates of Boston Latin School include John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
A 1987 graduate, Hunschofsky attended the school from 7th – 12 grade, and out of the school’s 64 Distinguished Graduates, including Bernstein, Fiedler, and Kennedy, she is only the second woman.
At the sold-out event at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf, which included Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston City Councilors Matt O’Malley (a Boston Latin School alumnus) and Annissa Essaibi George, Hunschofsky spoke about her experience at Boston Latin School.
“We didn’t just get an education — we were constantly challenged about how we were going to make the world a better place.”
She also spoke about her path to public service and the events following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Hunschofsky said Boston Latin School, located in the Longwood area of Boston, had a very diverse student population.
“I met people from all different backgrounds at Boston Latin School, which shaped so much of how I approached people throughout my life – understanding that they might have different life experiences and therefore very different viewpoints and honoring the importance of those differences and need to listen and learn from them.”
The curriculum uses languages, literature, and art of ancient Greece and Rome to promote the virtues of restraining one’s impulses to self-interest, living and treating others with dignity, and participating responsibly in civic life.
Hunschofsky learned German and Latin at Boston Latin School, but don’t ask her to recite anything in Latin.
“The plaque I received is written in Latin, and thank goodness they gave me an English translation,” she laughed.
The Friday before the ceremony, she visited the school and spoke to 9th and 11th graders about her experiences since attending Boston Latin School.
When asked about leadership, Hunschofsky talked about the importance of character and the need to listen and learn from others in order to find common ground and work toward solutions.