St. Xavier Graduation Essays 2022

St. X educates the entire person

Paul Gates

Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, said, “We shall always place education side by side with instruction; the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.” Four years ago, I was presented with an opportunity to emerge from the cocoon of my parochial school and move into this new thing our society calls high school. My family and I sat down and we made a decision. We thought about a multitude of things: class offerings, athletics, alumni network, etc. We came to the conclusion that the best place for me was St. Xavier High School.

Yet, we were blissfully ignorant. We were ignorant in that we thought what we saw on the surface would be the chief means to my education. The happy surprise of this whole experience is that my family and I chose a place in which I would absolutely receive the best instruction; yet, St. X did more than this. St. X was the place where I first encountered the concept of education in its entirety. Now, I can see so clearly that the times when I gained the knowledge that will carry me throughout my future was not while preparing for AP Exams or remembering the unit circle — though both are extremely important. Instead, education took place in the relationships that I formed. I think back to the way I was physically and mentally challenged by my football coaches. How I was asked to think critically about literature and how literature interacts with culture and society. How I was asked why I believe what I believe and to ponder the wonder that is human thought itself. At St. X, I was invited to participate in the incarnation of Christ and invited to share in the beauty of our faith. I was given the opportunity to experience friendship and given a space in which authentic masculine relationships were encouraged and celebrated. All of this, I have come to know, is the process of educating the entire person.

It is fun to reminisce about my first days at St. X. To juxtapose the feeling of the first day of freshman year with the feeling I will have as I walk into school on the last day of senior year would be to juxtapose fire and water. The way in which I have been made to feel as though St. X is my home is a true gift. It would be unfair of me to suggest that each day of my St. X career I jumped out of bed excited to get to school. But this leads me to the thought that has impacted me more than any other during my high school years. The fundamental principles of the Xavierian Brothers invite us to allow God to mold and shape our lives “through the common, ordinary, unspectacular flow of everyday life.” Each day at St. X, young men are being cultivated in the ordinary unspectacular flow. I consider myself to be blessed beyond measure and am nothing but grateful for my time at Tiger Tech.

 

 

St. X became a band of brothers

Fitz Norris

Where to begin? My St. X experience began long before my first day of school. As a kid no older than 8, I remember going to St. X versus Trinity games at Cardinal Stadium, always sporting the green and gold merely because my dad went there. I didn’t think much of it, but as I walked through the tunnels of the stadium, I saw just how pervasive those colors were. And, upon finding my seats, I looked across the stadium at the mesh of students known as the Rage Cage and saw what my experience as a St. Xavier student could be.

In seventh and eighth grades, I shadowed, surrounded by people twice my size. But as I walked out of the front office and hopped into my mom’s car, I knew I had found a home. Not a temporary home, a permanent one. Walking through the halls, accompanied by a person I barely knew, I was greeted with encouraging smiles and thoughtful comments. I didn’t feel like a shadow. I felt like a Tiger.

So, I became a Tiger. My first assignment: summer reading. We were instructed to read “A Season of Life” by Jeffrey Marx. In the book, former NFL star Joe Ehrmann coaches a high school football team how to be men of strength and character, both on and off the field; how to be men built for others. As cliche as it sounds, this book is emblematic of my time at St. X. As the labyrinth of hallways became second nature, the teachers became my friends, the people with whom I had class became my band of brothers.

This band of brothers always had my back. From a normal freshman year, to a truncated sophomore, to a hybrid junior and finally to a sort of normalcy as a senior, my brothers were always with me. Often, it felt like the world was against us, trying to pull us apart. But nothing could stop the band of brothers that is St. X. Despite everything, life at Tiger Tech marched forward like normal. Sporting events still happened, just with limited attendance.

Friendships were still fostered, even if it was over the computer. Clubs still met. Our camaraderie was more present than ever. I can’t count the number of days it felt like I had nothing left in me. Like I just wanted to crawl into a ball and stay there. But those were the days when I felt the brotherhood the most. When I had nothing left to give, my brothers helped me out, so that when they had nothing left, I could help them. There were days I came into school visibly upset. I wouldn’t even make it to homeroom before a teacher or a classmate stopped me and asked me if everything was alright. That’s special.

As I write this, there are mere days left in my journey at St. Xavier. Days until I walk through the hall as a visitor, not as a student. Days until I leave my favorite teachers. Days until I say goodbye to the people I’ve been blessed to call brothers for four years. But, that’s not really the end. As a class, we made an indelible mark on St. X, our home. From the service hours to the 4.0s to the state championships to the National Merit Finalists to the perfect ACT to the All-State athletes and band members, we did it all. We contributed to the legacy that is St. Xavier High School.

As important as that seems right now, down the road, it won’t matter much. What will matter is the relationships that were formed, the memories that were made, the brotherhood that was fostered. The feeling of sitting in the Rage Cage, the energy palpable. The memory of storming the court after a buzzer-beater in the faculty basketball game. The booing after someone won in spirit week bingo. The feeling of seeing your teacher plunge into an icy cold bath after you won the dunk tank. That’s what’s most important. The memories and the brotherhood.

As I sit here writing this, I have no idea where I’m going for college. For the first time in my life, I don’t know my next step. But I’m surrounded by people who can help me. And no matter where my next step takes me, I know I have a safety net. A safe harbor to dock. A band of brothers to fall back on. So, even if I’m halfway across the country, I have a place I can call home.

 

 

St. Xavier fosters brotherhood through pillars of community

Andrew Spalding

St. Xavier is the school to attend if you want to be challenged every day to be your best self. That challenge is what makes St. X and its graduates extraordinary.

However, I consider the school’s rigor to be secondary in value to the underlying gift each student receives from their commitment to excellence that makes it all worthwhile: brotherhood.

As you walk through the halls of St. Xavier, the most striking sight is likely the masses of students walking down the hall. Some look no older than 12 by stature, while some look like they could have played for the Lakers the night before. After noticing the students, you may notice the teachers dotted throughout the crowd, checking uniforms and greeting coworkers as they rush to their next class.

However, the heart of St. X that a random person walking down the hallway may or may not notice is the energy and excitement the aforementioned people combine to create. No matter what type of day a student or teacher is having when they wake up in the morning, they are met with the same contagiously positive environment that the school preaches so earnestly. This is zeal.

If a student bombs a test or is struggling with a concept, he can lean on his friends and teachers to get extra help and set himself up for success. This is compassion.

If a student had a breakout game or carried their team to victory the previous night, they will likely sit quietly at their desk and reluctantly accept applause and yells from their friends while their name is mentioned on the morning news. This is humility.

If a student asks for an extension on a paper after going on retreat, their teacher will concisely respond, “Yes, just get it done.” This is simplicity. If a student is homesick for a few days and needs to know what he missed, he can text a classmate and get a reliable to-do list within minutes. This is trust.

From personal experience, these pillars of community, along with the sense of competition that comes with them, are what truly make a Tiger. Even after the Class of 2022 has walked the halls of St. Xavier for the last time, the gifts the school has given us will push us all toward both individual and collective progress for the rest of our lives.

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