This evening I had the opportunity to speak at a St. X young alumni event to help support the mission of the school. It was a privilege to share my experience as a student, alumni, and faculty member.
Good Evening. For those of you who I have not had the opportunity to meet, my name is Bobby Nichols, a graduate of the class of 2009. I currently work at St. X as a theology teacher and Campus Minister in charge of coordinating the retreat programs. When I look around the room I see a lot of familiar faces and hear a lot of similar stories and to me that’s what the brotherhood of St. X is all about. Whether you graduated in 1866, 1966, 2006, or for our next class of 2016 the fabric of St. X continues to be woven together.
For many of us in this room, the fabric of our stories is closely tethered. While the march to Manual Stadium and cookouts at the Jefferson’s house have changed to our own stadium and tailgating in our own fields, the cheers and chants are just as loud. Many of us can still recall the fear of seeing Mr. Kroh walking down the hall with a bowtie or the excitement of Mr. Amlung’s doughnut challenges. For those who attended retreat, you might remember walking around the lake at the Mount and the desire to live the fourth. And some of us, we might even remember counting the bricks in room 119.
We are St. X and it is our shared memories and experiences that bind us together. The bonds we formed while at St. X have made us into the men we are today. The friends we stole fries from during our lunch periods have since become the people we shared dorm rooms with in college, traveled together with on vacation, and have or will soon stand down the row from us as best men at our weddings. St. X is more than just some high school on Popular Level Road, it is a foundation that uniquely formed each one of us.
As a member of the faculty, I now have the humbling experience of witnessing those bonds being formed. From cramming up the T as students rush to their classes, to hearing students doing their best impressions of Mr. Johnson, the moments that are happening now at St. X are the memories that students will carry with them. And those moments are getting more expansive as we not only grow in our campus facilities and technology department with robots, 3D printers, iPads, and drones but also in our formational experience with more retreats, service requirements for freshman, sophomores, and juniors, and mission trips to Belize, Appalachia, and next year to Jamaica. These moments are the moments that make the man, the memories that make us the men of St. X.
As St. X continues to grow and reach a broader more diverse audience, for several students making those memories possible is not always easy. I think of a freshman I had in class who now lives with his brother because both of his parents have died and along with tuition assistance works both at St. X and in the community to help make the payments possible. I think of a young man who had dreamed of going on the Belize mission trip since he was a prospective student and now as a senior finally has that opportunity because of generous donors. I think of a young man whose family struggled to afford the necessary sports equipment and gear, but with the support of our brotherhood was able to play the sport he loves along with his team.
As I consider why I donate to St. X it is because of those many memories, and I imagine that memories like those are the same reasons you are here today.
We are St. X. From the middle-schooler who dreams of playing for the Tigers. To the alumni whose dreams are filled with memories of the game. We are St. X, and it is people like you who make all of this possible. We are St. X and I am proud to be a part of this legacy that makes countless dreams a reality.