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.
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.