James Taylor surprises retiring Catholic Memorial School principal with video tribute

Thomas Beatty at his retirement reception Sunday at Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury.
Thomas Beatty at his retirement reception Sunday at Catholic Memorial School in West Roxbury.Courtesy photo

Catholic Memorial School Principal Thomas Beatty received a surprise during his retirement reception Sunday—a video tribute from musician James Taylor.

“Congratulations to you, sir, on 50 years of service,” Taylor said in the video. “What a thing.”

Taylor congratulated Beatty for serving at the West Roxbury school for 45 years as a teacher, coach, math department chair, and the first alumni-principal, Catholic Memorial School said in a statement.

“I’m in the same boat,” Taylor said. “Basically, 50 years in.”

Taylor also invited Beatty and his wife, Anne, to his concert at Tanglewood on July 3, according to the statement.

“I can’t remember a moment in my life when I was so completely overwhelmed with amazement at what was happening in the moment,” Beatty said in the statement.


Beatty began teaching math at the Christian Brothers-sponsored school in 1974. He also served as the assistant coach for the cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field teams, according to the statement.

In March, at the National Honors Society induction ceremony, he sang a rendition of Taylor’s song “Carolina in My Mind” for parents, students, faculty, and administrators.

“And also—kudos—hats off for singing Carolina in My Mind on the way out,” Taylor said. “Good idea!”

He was introduced to Taylor’s music by Vincent Catano, an English teacher at Catholic Memorial, during his senior year of high school in 1968, according to the statement.

“It has been an honor to serve each day alongside Mr. Tom Beatty,” Catholic Memorial School President Peter Folan said in the statement. “The legacy of a great educator like him lasts forever.”

Andrew Stanton can be reached at andrew.stanton@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @_andrewstanton.