Joe Meany’s High School Graduation Day, June 2

Some months before, the National Association of Boys’ Clubs had suggested to me that we should take one of their members as a cabin boy. I had agreed to this and they had run a national competition which had ended in the selection of Graham Nunn, a sixteen-year-old boy from Corby, at a ceremony presided over by H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester…Every year the [American] Boys’ Clubs held a national competition to select their Junior Citizen of the Year, and this year they added a prize of a passage on the Mayflower. The final selection was Joseph Meany of Waltham, Massachusetts, by a committee headed by former President Hoover.

Warwick Charlton, The Second Mayflower Adventure

June 2nd -- This was the day that Joe Meany of the Waltham Mass Boy’s Club was to graduate, but as we were still at sea, we held his graduation on board. We made up a scroll suitably enscribed – made up a “platter” hat, turned a rain coat inside out – dressed attendants then made a very fitting speech for the occasion, after which we sang “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” I really thought that Joe was going to cry, he was so touched with it all. It was quite fitting that a few minutes later we received a radio message stating that he had in fact graduated with honours, and also had received a four year scholarship to Notre Dame.

Charles Church (Journal, 1 June 1957) 

There had first of all been a ‘graduation day’ ceremony for Joe Meany. It has been a bitter blow to him that he could not be back today for his graduation and school-leaving ceremony, so we held a special graduation on the quarterdeck. He was handed a magnificent scroll by the Captain. The scroll outlined in stately phrases the zeal with which Joe had attended to his duties and how he had followed a full and thorough course in sailing-ship routine. He was then handed the scroll, signed by King Neptune and the Captain, and invested with full academic dress, made most skillfully by Stuart Upham. He had a mortar board, which nearly flew overboard, an oilskin for a gown and a skillfully arranged pair of pillow cases for a hood.

Jack Scarr (Journal, 2 June 1957) 

Sunday, 2nd June. Today would have been Joe Meaney’s graduation day had he been at home, so we gave him a mock ceremony on board. The ship’s company was assembled on the quarterdeck and then Villiers, Warwick Charlton, and Stuart Upham came out from the Old Man’s cabin and, standing to starboard of the wheel, called for Joe Meaney to step forth. He was presented with an illuminated manuscript and clothed in a home-made gown and mortar-board.

Peter Padfield (Voyage of the Bark Mayflower)

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