Life as a Hawk

Official blog of the Xaverian Hawk


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Sophomore John Walsh Reflects On His Freshman Year At Xaverian

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of a speech written by Xaverian Sophomore John Walsh. The speech was delivered during the annual Partnership of Catholic Schools Open House. John is a graduate of St. Catherine of Siena School in Norwood. (The Partnership of Catholic Schools program promotes a more seamless transition from middle school to high school. Boys who successfully complete the middle school program at any one of the 5 partner schools, meet the admission criteria at XBHS, and complete the application process will be automatically accepted into Xaverian). For information on our upcoming Open House on October 31st, click here.

John Walsh, Xaverian Sophomore and graduate of Saint Catherine of Siena in Norwood.

Good evening. My name is John Walsh and I am a sophomore here at Xaverian. Like all of you here tonight, I attended a Xaverian partnership school, St. Catherine’s in Norwood. Since I was five years old, my goal had always been to go to Xaverian like my Dad and two Uncles. When we were little, my brother James and I had gone to football games with my Dad, wearing oversized Hawks T-Shirts down to our knees, cheering alongside the student section. Now I am part of that student section, wearing a bright yellow class of 2013 Hawk Squad T-Shirt cheering with my friends and classmates.

Two years ago, I sat in this same auditorium to listen to the speeches about life at Xaverian and the many reasons I should become a student here. All of the speeches stressed that this was not just a school, but a community. I remember hearing the words “Classmates for four years, Brothers for Life.” As a student here, I quickly discovered that these are not just words but truly describe what it means to be a part of this community. Xaverian is the best part of my life and I love being a student here.

On my first day of classes, I went to my locker before first period with no idea where room X121 was, never mind the fact I would have to be there in four minutes. The sophomore with the locker next to me, Jules Murphy, who was the starting kicker on last year’s Super Bowl team, shook my hand and introduced himself to me. He pointed me in the right direction and told me if I ever needed anything he would be happy to help. I soon found that this respect from the upperclassmen was nothing out of the ordinary here at Xaverian.

One day after school I went to open gym to play basketball. Most of the kids there were varsity basketball players. They were playing a pickup game and invited me to sub into the game. Being a freshman, I didn’t want to sub in for an upperclassman on my own. But, the captain of the team, Pat Dinneen, made sure I got into the game. Pat had me work out in the weight room and play with them every day after school from that point on. Even when there was no open gym one Friday, Pat drove me and two other seniors to the basketball court down the street at Islington where we played basketball for hours until it was too dark to see the rim. While walking through the hallways, I would hear “Walshy! How’s it going?” from upperclassmen I had just met in open gym. I found it hard to believe that the senior basketball captain and other upperclassmen would go out of their way for a freshman. That was when I discovered just what Xaverian was all about and felt as though I were truly a part of the community.

Xaverian creates an atmosphere that encourages each of us to succeed. Everyone here can feel comfortable with who they are and will find that Xaverian has something to offer every student. The teachers and administration want each of us excel and truly care about you as a person. They approach all they do with enthusiasm and challenge you to strive for excellence. I never thought I would say that I look forward to each school day until I came to Xaverian.

Faith is what defines our community and creates the atmosphere here at Xaverian. The faith life that had become the cornerstone of my character at St. Catherine’s is continued through Campus Ministry. Every Thursday, Campus Ministry holds SpiritHawk meetings where students have pizza and break up into small groups with senior leaders to talk about the topic of the week. The topic involves everyday life, our relationships with others, and most importantly our relationship with God. This year, I was fortunate enough to go on the Sophmore Faith retreat where I formed friendships with classmates I had not known very well through group discussions, activities, and prayer while on the retreat. The Campus Ministers, teachers, and senior leaders who were part of the retreat made me realize just how fortunate I am to attend Xaverian.

I would like to thank Brother Dan, Mr. Lalli, Brother Ray, and the entire faculty for the great work they do to create the Xaverian community I love being a part of every day. I hope that all of you will choose to become a student here and take advantage of all Xaverian has to offer. God has given me the incredible opportunity to walk through these hallways everyday with my classmates, an opportunity that will shape me into a man founded in Xaverian values that will have a positive impact on others in the future. This school is truly the best part of my life and I am grateful for every moment God has blessed me with at Xaverian.


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LIVE@theX: (bing) We will now begin the process of entertaining you (A blog written by Mr. Belmonte)

Mr. Belmonte helps Connor Bergschneider practice his piano.

Hello world, Mr. Belmonte here. It’s time once again for LIVE@theX, our student performance series occurring four times a year and featuring both musical and theatrical talent from all parts of the Xaverian Community. Those of you in our Alumni audience will remember these events as Classical Café and XNL. Why the new name? Simple. It’s not all classical and we’re no longer servin’ up food.

What we are servin’ up is a heaping helping of Arts and Entertainment. At this LIVE@theX you can look forward to a little folk, a little jazz, a little poetry, a few numbers from our jazz combo and a few surprises as well.

The performance is Thursday, October 28, at 7PM in the XBHS Theater. As always, admission is free and all are welcome. In the words of Neil Diamond, “pack up the babies, grab the old ladies, and everyone goes!” We hope to see you there. Students interested in auditioning for LIVE@theX performances should see me or Mr. Cavanaugh in the music center.

"a little folk, a little jazz, a little poetry, a few numbers from our jazz combo and a few surprises as well."

Oh and while i’ve got your attention, be sure to mark your calendars now for an upcoming event. You won’t want to miss our LIVE@theX: A Brother Dan Christmas! on Thursday, Dec. 8.


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From The Archives

Editor’s note: Thousands of photos have been taken since Xaverian Brothers High School was founded in 1963. Many are in storage at here at Xaverian, and many are sent to us from alumni and friends. Here are some of those photos!

Mr. Connolly is helping students study the human skeleton...or practicing a ventriloquist routine

Xaverian football team ready to compete (before the days of the X helmet logo).

Xaverian's lunch menu has definitely improved over the years...

Technology at Xaverian has improved quite a bit as well!

The original Xaverian bookstore featuring Mr. Higgins

The Xaverian hockey team moves the puck through the neutral zone

A rare shot of Mr. Lewis standing still!


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Senior Michael Muir Reflects On His Xaverian Experience

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of a speech written by Xaverian Senior Michael Muir. The speech was delivered during the annual St. Francis Xavier Society Appreciation Dinner. Michael is a multi-sport athlete, and a frequent participant in Campus Ministry programs.

Senior Michael Muir ties the Xaverian vs Brockton game with just 40 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Nick McDaniels (#2) is nearby to help out. Muir caught this catch just minutes after he separated his shoulder. Xaverian went on to win the game in double overtime.

In 2007, I was a very happy 8th grader at Sacred Heart Intermediate School in Kingston, MA.  My brother was entering his senior year at Sacred Heart and our family was very active in all aspects of the Sacred Heart community for a long time.

I found out about Xaverian at our family gatherings.  My cousin, Peter Gaynor, class of ‘87 would talk about his years as a student at Xaverian.  Christopher DeBrase, who graduated a year ahead of me at Sacred Heart was also a freshman at Xaverian; so I signed up for Hawk for a Day   where I was able to spend a day shadowing my friend Chris.  I still remember what a wonderful day I had – the students were so welcoming, the classes were dynamic, and I was excited when I left.

At Sacred Heart, I played junior varsity basketball as an eighth grade student.  The varsity basketball coach at Sacred Heart promised me that if I stayed, I would be a starter for their program as a freshman and that he would even try to get me a girlfriend!  He teased me that Xaverian could not help me in that area.  He was right about that, although I have met many nice girls at Xaverian dances, but I’m just not ready for a girlfriend now!  With a heavy heart, I made the difficult decision to leave the safety and security of Sacred Heart to follow my own path to Xaverian.

I have gained a whole new family and developed a strong sense of what is means to be a part of a brotherhood –  showing respect for others, helping those in need, and making a difference in others’ lives.

Throughout freshman year, I carpooled with four boys from Bridgewater and one from Middleboro.  Our commute averaged anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour or even more depending on traffic.  Our parents quickly learned that we relished that time to nap or listen to music or finish last minute homework and that idle chit chat was not a priority in the morning.  I can remember I was worried about balancing schoolwork and my after school activities, but I knew I wanted to be involved in the school.

My classmates and I have been blessed with many academic opportunities.   We are encouraged to seek out new knowledge and skills and try things we have not done before.  We are given the support to learn and explore.  Faculty and staff here go beyond their work requirements every day – staying after to help students with their work coaching or helping with a club or other activity.  For example, I first had the chance to meet and work with Mr. Christopher Vasta, our new Dean of Students in my freshman year.  He coached my freshman football team, encouraged me to become involved in campus ministry activities, and has been an excellent role model for me and my classmates.

Sophomore year was a bit of a challenge.  The company that my father worked for filed bankruptcy and closed its doors.  During this difficult economic time, the school awarded me a financial aid grant.  I would like to personally thank you for your financial support.

Work-study was a new adventure for me as I worked in the administrative office every day answering the telephone and helping out in the office.  It gave me a chance to get to know the administration in a different way.  Mr. Lalli didn’t seem as big to me as he did freshman year,  Brother Dan only yelled at me a few times and  I also paid much more attention to the length of my hair that year for Dr. Crowley.

Xaverian has encouraged me to explore my own faith and to reach out to others in need through our Campus Ministry Programs. This past summer I attended XLI (which is the senior leadership institute held at Stonehill College) with 150 other seniors.  It was one of the best experiences of my life because it helped me to see how my family, friends and school have been so important in my development.

In addition to academics and campus ministry, Xaverian has an outstanding athletic program led by Mr. Charles Stevenson, another staff member whom I admire.  He has assembled an amazing group of coaches not only for football but also for other sports who inspire us Hawks to do the best we can whether it’s on a field, in a rink, on a track, on a mat, or on a court.  Athletics have always been an important part of my life.  This year I am playing varsity football and hope to continue to play basketball and baseball.  I had an incredible junior year starting with the football program where I played wide receiver and safety.  We played one of the toughest schedules in the state with only 4 home games, beating such powerhouses as Brockton, Everett, and St. John’s Prep. As a player, I cannot tell you how exciting it was to play at Gillette Stadium with the snow falling all around us, on the same field as the New England Patriots, watching my teammates celebrate and make snow angels after our win.  Along with my Super Bowl ring, it will be a memory I cherish and share with my teammates for a lifetime.

I had one day off between the Superbowl win and tryouts for our varsity basketball team with our new Coach Salazar.  His preparation and coaching along with our team’s hard work earned us a spot in the first round of the state playoffs, for the first time in many years.

Finally, a few months later, the Hawks’ baseball team under Coach Lambert, an underdog with a 10-10 record, played in the state finals against Amherst-Pelham in the Lowell Spinners stadium against a pitcher who was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks and threw 94 miles per hour.  This game conflicted with my commitment to the pilgrimage to Italy, but with Mr. Vasta’s encouragement, I flew by myself from Boston to Italy to catch up with my schoolmates the day after the state finals in baseball.  It was a great way to end an amazing junior year – between academics, campus ministry, and athletics!

I think my junior year exemplifies the true spirit and the embodiment of the values that are so much a part of Xaverian.

One of those is Humility – Through our work in the community and our involvement in sports, we are taught about what it means to be humble.  To us that means you use the gifts God has given you.  This past weekend, we played Brockton in a football game that went into double overtime.  After a hard fought win, we were very excited, but humble and our fans lined up after the game and applauded both the BHS Boxer football team and their marching band.

Another value is Leadership – the members of the Class of 2010 football and baseball teams demonstrated to the underclassmen what it takes to play on a championship team: that is commitment, support for your teammates during good times and bad, listening to your coaches to become better players, and mentoring the underclassmen for the benefit of the team. Finally, compassion. Compassion is important to us because we are called by our faith to serve others and make a difference both in our community and beyond.


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Interview With Ryan Howard, Science Teacher

Editor’s Note: Ryan Howard, Science Teacher sat down with Assistant Director of Admissions Kevin Loftus to talk about  the new schoolyear, and some great events produced by the Science Department.

Kevin Loftus (KL) : I’m here with Ryan Howard, Science Teacher here at Xaverian. Mr. Howard, how long have you been a member of the Xaverian community?

Mr. Howard helping a student after school

Ryan Howard (RH) : I came to Xaverian in 2002, upon the completion of my master’s degree in chemistry from Boston College.

KL: Has a lot changed since then?

RH: Yes! The science department has worked hard to improve our curriculum, and increase the amount of technology in our labs. The Vernier digital probes have really enhanced our lab curriculum.

KL: How about the students? Have they changed at all?

RH: I’m amazed at the passion many students have for science. That’s why we started the Science Lecture Series.

KL: What is the Science Lecture Series all about?

RH: The goal is to show our students the exciting things that are happening in the world of science.  These aren’t career talks, they’re research based lectures.  It’s important for students to hear that people outside Xaverian share their enthusiasm for science.

KL: How long has the Science Lecture Series been going on?

RH: Well our first lecture was by Dr. Brian Wecht of MIT in 2006.  He did a lecture on string theory. His talk was so successful that we decided expand the program to a full series. Now we have three lectures a year.

KL: So who attends these lectures?

RH: All students can attend the lectures. Seniors get the most out of them because they’ve taken more science classes, but anyone can attend.

KL: Are the lectures open to the public as well?

RH: Yes, anyone is welcome to attend. General public will need to check in at the main office.  If anyone has questions about the science lectures they should contact Mr. Tassinari.

KL: What notable speakers have you had in the past?

The Xaverian Science Lecture Series drew a crowd last year

RH: The strength of the program is the diversity of the speakers and their topics.  Last year we had Tim Crowley, who coaches world class triathletes, discuss the use of technology in training.  We also had Dr. Joyce Sackey, Dean for Multicultural Affairs and Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine discuss medical service trips in Africa.  We’ve also had lectures about financing pharmaceutical research, and also the use of robots in science.

KL: So what do you have planned for this year?

RH: Mr. Tassinari has been planning this year’s lecture series.  He has lined up three speakers: Dr. Mark Vesligaj, Dr. John Graham McCoy and Dr. Dennis Bernal

KL: When is the first lecture?

RH: The first one is Thursday, October 14th at 1:50 PM in the theater.  Dr. Mark Vesligaj of Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, CT is the speaker.

KL: And what is the lecture about?

RH: Dr. Vesligaj is going to talk about Engineering and Medical Collaboration. His talk will highlight the importance of two different fields of science working together to solve a problem. More specifically, engineers and doctors combining their efforts to improve diagnosis and treatment for patients with Hemodialysis.

KL: Sounds interesting, I’ll see you on the 14th!