Skip to main content

Young Alumni Chapel and Thanksgiving

Last night the Chapel overflowed with our boys and several of their teachers for the Young Alumni Chapel and Dinner,  a Thanksgiving tradition that has grown tremendously each year since its inception in 2006.

Alum Chris Landry '06 delivered the Chapel talk to the gathering of our eighth graders,  alumni who are currently in high school, and faculty and staff. Chris, a graduate of Regis and currently a first-year medical student at Columbia, focused his talk on the uniqueness of a Saint David's education. 

Recalling a favorite Latin class he took while at Saint David's, he recounted an exam in which the teacher asked the boys not only the expected questions related to vocabulary or the readings of ancient philosophers, but to write an essay that would,  "relate the Latin we learned to the six virtues of Saint Davids: scholarship, spirituality, balance, action, order, and aesthetics."

He noted the value in such an exam question, which asks the student to really think and connect what he is learning in a discipline to bigger issues or values.  He also observed how rare it is for schools and other institutions to place such values at their core; and that our school-wide theme for this year deliberate moral introspection is a call "to look inward and also outward." This entails reflection on "the aspects of ourselves that are good and what's not so good, what could be made better," so that "ultimately we make ourselves and others better." For as Chris observed, what is of most importance is not the major goals achieved in a life, but how we live our daily lives: "Every moment of your life matters."

These wise words from our alumnus speaker provided much fodder for all to ponder as we later headed down to Hyman Hall to share in a delicious pre-Thanksgiving meal. During dinner, last year's Student Council President Kevin K. '15 presented a check to Save the Children's Cheryl Anderson for the fundraising work his class led in support of the Saint David's School in Kalina, Ethiopia.

To top off a wonderful evening, Teacher Tom Ryan announced that this year our boys collected enough food during our Thanksgiving Food Drive to pack a record 252 boxes for delivery this morning.

As we enter this Holiday Season, and with each successive year, I find myself growing ever more grateful and appreciative of our collective blessings.

We are fortunate to be surrounded by boys who thirst to learn, moms and dads who strive to nurture, teachers who yearn to inspire, a community that commits to those in need, and a mission that encourages boys to aspire to be good men.

I have come to realize that life is a gift.  It’s important to live it, enjoy it, celebrate it, and fulfill it and most important of all, we are to be thankful for it.


Popular posts from this blog

An Evening With Lidia Bastianich

On Tuesday evening, Lidia Bastianich, award-winning chef, restaurateur, television host and author, visited Saint David's to speak to the Saint David's Alumni Parent community and current Eighth Grade.

Interviewed by Alumni Parent Dr. Joseph Haddad for our Alumni Parent Council Lecture, Lidia recounted her youth in Istria when the once Italian peninsula shifted to communist reign after World War II, her two years spent as a refugee in Trieste, and her experiences after her family immigrated to America when she was eleven years old.

The boys were fascinated with her discussion about her family's escape from Istria and her life as a refugee and immigrant. She expressed her everlasting gratitude to the people who provided assistance to her family in Trieste and when they first arrived in New York. "I can't talk enough about the goodness of the people who helped us," she said. "I am where I am because of them."

As a highly successful person with…

Navy SEAL Bill Berrien '82 Gives Chapel on Service to Saint David's Boys

Former Navy SEAL and Saint David's Alumnus Bill Berrien '82 fascinated all during his Chapel Talk Tuesday morning to our seventh and eighth graders.

A SEAL for nine years, Bill was a member of two platoons in South America as well as part of a Joint Special Operations unit. He shared his SEAL Trident with the boys, talked about the intensity of training, and noted he remains close to many with whom he served.

Connecting his service to the values that Saint David's espouses, he encouraged the boys to always be students--curious throughout their lives, to find the best in everyone, appreciate setbacks, and to learn from failures. In the video above, he addresses the first.

He closed by planting these "seeds" for our boys to consider: that life is a journey to be embraced broadly with openness to a variety of opportunities; being a service leader is of utmost importance; the unknown should be embraced; and, finally, that the boys be their own best friend, compassi…

Saint David's Father and Son Dinner Featuring Mark Whitaker

Our annual Seventh Grade father and son dinner provides the opportunity for seventh graders and their fathers to share an evening exploring what it means to be a good man, the relationship between parent and son, and other mission-related themes.

The speaker at this year's event was author, journalist and media executive Mark Whitaker, who spoke about his memoir My Long Trip Home, in which he delves into the story of his family, in particular, his father. The son of a bi-racial couple who wed in 1956 (a time when interracial marriages were still illegal in some states), Mark spent many years estranged from his father, a brilliant African Studies scholar who struggled throughout his life with alcoholism.

Later, they would reconcile, but it was only after his father had passed away that Mark realized he wanted to write a book about this man who had had a groundbreaking career despite all his problems, and try to understand him better. Ultimately, the process deepened Mark'…