Editor’s Note: Senior Alex Kradin was selected to speak during our Accepted Students Receptions. The night also featured a video titled The Xaverian Decision. Alex gave a great speech about his experiences at Xaverian, and his community service experience at The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Here is the transcript of his speech.
Good evening everyone, My name is Alex Kradin. I am a senior and I want to congratulate you all on your acceptance to Xaverian.
Xaverian will change your life. Any high school will. So why pick Xaverian? Well, I want to tell you a little bit about some of the experiences I have had here. It is definitely hard to narrow it down to one or two that I can talk about because there have been so many life-changing experiences that I have participated in as well many others that have impacted me greatly.
One was a program called Global Encounter. You can travel in either February or April and go to places such as Duran Ecuador, Camden New Jersey, and Bethlehem Farm in West Virginia. Every other year XBHS goes to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The Reservation is an incredible place, filled with amazing beauty and disturbing poverty. The poverty seen there was overwhelming, trash is littered on every persons front yard and there are kids barely old enough to stay home alone, are left to baby-sit siblings because their parents are working. However, despite the tremendous amounts of alcoholism, domestic abuse, and overall poverty there is a growing light within the Reservation. This light is shone through people like Leonard Little Finger who are intent on preserving the Lakota culture. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this light last April. 7 other students and 2 chaperones as well as me got to live there for a week and it was an experience like no other. Red Cloud Indian School is one of the schools on the reservation, while there we helped assist the teacher with teaching the kids Biology and various other subjects. After class each day came lunch then recess, which was something else. An intense game of tag ensued and I got my annual workout.
When we weren’t at school, which by the way only costs 100 dollars a kid a year and a maximum of 200 dollars per family, we were hearing talks from people like Lynn Cross Dog and Leonard Little Finger who have over come all of the adversities on the Reservation and have become successful. My week has caused me to consider doing a year of service out there after college. Truly life changing indeed.
Xaverian is obviously a catholic school, which may raise a lot of questions for you. Well, I can relate. I am Jewish so I certainly was skeptical about coming to a Catholic school. Let me be the first to tell you, at a time when all sorts of faith related questions are bobbling around in your head, Xaverian is a wonderful place to be. The way I like to describe it is there is a perfect balance of religion in school. I like to take advantage of all the programs our campus ministry department offers including the retreats, service trips, and peer ministry groups. As a matter of fact, I lead morning prayer every Thursday morning. Due to the strong community we have here, my faith life has flourished.
Which brings me to community. Community is a word tossed around here pretty frequently but there is no better way to describe Xaverian better than Merriam-Websters definition; a community is a unified body of individuals. As freshman you are welcomed into the community even before the first day of school by our peer ministry program. To help you get more acclimated with the school we have this program where a junior or senior helps you transition into your first year by inviting you to events and talking you through any problems you might have. Within the first weeks of school I will frequently see a new student with a puzzled look on their face. I know what you are thinking, the puzzled freshman will now get shoved into a locker. Well, that does not happen here, the lockers are too small. Seriously though, the upperclassmen will always reach out to help you guys and treat you with respect. When community is mentioned here it probably will be mentioned with our motto: classmates for four years, brothers for life. Pretty corny right? Well despite the corniness factor it is absolutely true. The wonderful community we have here is not only helpful as a freshman but as your class grows and matures you will become closer than you could ever imagine. Part of this is because there are no girls here. Just so you know, there are no girls here.
It may seem as if there are only Campus Ministry activities to do here. However, as a freshman and sophomore I participated on the freshman and Junior Varsity lacrosse teams. When I realized that wasn’t for me I remained active in the sports community by helping to organize events for our fan group, the Hawk Squad. Also, extra curriculars ange from Bowling club to yearbook to Robotics club.
What I am trying to say to all of you is Xaverian is the right place. There are so many things that fall under the umbrella that is our community. Everyone can find their niche and discover their passion here. Xaverian is designed to help you succeed and grow into the man you want to be. I have changed so much since my first day here and have become the person I truly want to be. If you come here, Xaverian can do the same for you.