At Xaverian Brothers High School, there’s always a way to get involved. Here are some photos from life at Xaverian. For even more photos of student life, visit our photos of the week page.
By John Morton ’11
This past week, Xaverian was pleased to have Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Kidder visit the school. Kidder studied at Harvard University and went on to the Iowa Writing Convention where he had the intention of being a fictional writer. However, he soon became inspired to focus on the lives of real people and events. Mountains Beyond Mountains is an excellent example of this powerful work. Incoming freshman to the Human Geography course at Xaverian read this inspiring book that became Xaverian’s first community read. Students and family members were encouraged to read it with their sons.
Mountains Beyond Mountains is the gritty story about the endeavors of Dr. Paul Farmer who ardently attempts to bring healing into the lives of people suffering with tuberculosis and AIDS in Haiti. Farmer’s passion for healing led him to be one of the principal figures in establishing Partners in Health (PIH) PIH is a collection of health care specialists seeking to treat people suffering with TB. Framer’s work and legend soon spread to Peru and Russia. Kidder captures Farmer’s story of perseverance and dedication to what he feels is simply “his duty”.
Tracy Kidder answered questions in an informal gathering with a small group of Xaverian students who were interested in writing. In this session, he described how successful Partners in Health has been by saying that 16 hospitals have been built in Haiti as a result of their efforts. Kidder also described his experience working with Farmer.
According to Kidder, Farmer hated the business side of his profession; preferring to work with his patients. Kidder joked that Farmer seemed to know everything. He reminisced about a book of rare diseases and picked one that he thought he could stump Farmer. But Farmer was able to tell him everything about this disease and even went more in depth than the book!
Turning to a more serious note, Kidder felt that his experience in Haiti was certainly an awareness rising moment. He said it was not like he would sell everything he owned but he grew to have a better appreciation of his place in the world. Similar to how he described Farmer’s work, Kidder said that, “We are all human and have a responsibility to help each other.”
Kidder also provided information about aspiring writers when he said that his favorite authors were William Shakespeare and Herman Melville. He also stressed about the importance of rewriting, rewriting and rewriting again in journalism. Kidder went through five drafts of Mountains Beyond Mountains until he got it right.
They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Kidder supported this theory with powerful imagery during his slide show. His presentation showed before and after pictures of some of the poorest Haitian citizens that Farmer and Partners in Health had treated. One picture showed a Haitian local who looked almost skeletal in the before picture. He had suffered severely from both AIDS and TB. After Partners in Health treated him, he was shown as healthy, strong man holding his daughter. It was certainly a poignant moment for those present in audience of over 400.
Kidder said one of his intents writing the book was to make us realize that we could all be a little like a Paul Farmer with whatever career we decide to pursue. This message was certainly aimed at the Xaverian students present. Above all, Kidder wanted to make Paul Farmer a prominent but real figure for all of his readers. He wanted us to experience the same awareness and sense of awe he experienced when he first met Farmer. One of the most admirable quotes occurred near the end of Mountains Beyond Mountains when Farmer said to Kidder, “That’s when I feel most alive, when I’m helping people.”
By John Regan ’14
My name is John Regan and I am a freshman at Xaverian Brothers High School. At the beginning of the school year, I knew right away that I was going to join Ski Club. I have been skiing my whole life and I absolutely love it.
The first ski trip we went on was to Okemo Mountain in Vermont. It was still pretty early in the season, but they managed to have 65 trails open. The conditions were great and the lines were short. My friends and I had a blast! The second trip we went on was to Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire. Mount Sunapee was a little smaller than Okemo, but they had the best terrain park I’ve ever been to. Every jump was perfectly groomed. Once again, the conditions were great!
For the third trip, we went on to Waterville Valley, also in New Hampshire. Waterville was my favorite of the trips so far. Basically all of the trails were open as well as the glades. The last trip we went on was to Attitash Mountain. Attitash had a ton of trails open. The conditions were the best so far because of the warmth. That was my first time ever skiing in March and it was awesome. It was so warm I didn’t even need my jacket. Since it was the last ski trip we made a stop at the Pizza Barn before going home. It was a lot of fun there and they had great pizza.
A lot of the kids going on the trip already own skis. I was not one of them. The rentals at every mountain were quick and easy and they didn’t cut into the amount of time you ski. Another great thing about the Xaverian Ski Trips is that, they allow anyone to take either a half-day or even a full-day lesson. This is great if you have never skied before, or if you are just looking to improve. Overall, I had a lot of fun during the trips this year and can’t wait until next year.
Editor’s note: Thousands of photos have been taken since Xaverian Brothers High School was founded in 1963. Many are in storage here at Xaverian, and many are sent to us from alumni and friends. Here are some of those photos! (Click the photos to view them on Facebook. For more alumni resources, visit our website. )
By Mr. Fitzgerald, Campus Minister
Ash Wednesday marked the start of our Lenten Clothing Drive to benefit St. Francis House. St. Francis House is a shelter, soup kitchen, and homeless service center in Boston which we visit during our X-CEL service programs.
According to St. Francis House, in the past year their organization has served more than 375,000 meals, provided more than 7,800 showers, and distributed more than 12,800 changes of clothes. They’ve also helped to provide nearly 10,000 medical appointments, counseled guests in more than 20,000 sessions on mental health, substance abuse, and other issues. They’ve trained 156 people in their First Step Employment Program, graduated the 100th class from their Moving Ahead Program, and housed 56 men and women in their Next Step Housing Program.
I am adding a list of items requested by St. Francis House. Please help us contribute to this great organization.
During Lent, students will be periodically around to collect clothes donations from homerooms, but we also encourage students to drop donations in Campus Ministry. If you have any questions, please see me.
Thanks again for all your support and prayers!
Casual short sleeves Shirts: Large, XL, 2X, 3X, 4X, and 5X
Men’s jeans-sizes 28-38 all length 34.
Men’s Sweatpants large, XL, 2X, 3X.
New and gently used sneakers, sizes 9-13
New crew socks (while only please)
New underwear-Briefs: M, L, and XL, (please NO BOXERS)
Spring Jackets – S, M, L, XL 2X, 3X, 4X, and 5X.
T-Shirts: L, XL, 2X, and 3X
New underwear-sizes 5-14 (white only please)
New bras-all sizes (white only please)
Traveler size soaps
Shopping plastic bags
Xaverian has chosen Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains for its One Book-One Community read. One Xaverian student who hasn’t read the book (yet) is senior Mackenley Louis. He doesn’t need to read it because he’s already lived it.
On Thursday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m., Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Kidder will come to Xaverian to discuss his book. The book focuses on the life of Dr. Paul Farmer and details Farmer’s work in Haiti, Peru, and Russia. Kidder chronicles the challenges Farmer faced as he attempted to provide healthcare for the poor in Haiti.
Mackenley lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, one of the poorest cities in the world with his family. At 11 years old, he was diagnosed with a deadly heart disease. He was given no chance of living if he stayed in Haiti. Luckily, his father used his business connections to get him out of Haiti and to Boston for the heart surgery he needed—a rarity in poverty stricken country.
By Brother Daniel Skala, C.F.X., Headmaster
I am very pleased to invite you and your family to an evening of hope and inspiration sponsored by the Parents’ Council. On Thursday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m. author Tracy Kidder will be our keynote speaker for the 2011 community-wide read of Mountains Beyond Mountains.
Kidder, a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner, wrote this story of Dr. Paul Farmer’s success in bringing health care to the poor in Haiti and beyond.