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Some Thoughts: The High School Experience

posted May 26, 2011, 3:07 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Oct 22, 2011, 10:59 AM by Golden Knight ]
Posted in Campus

By Chris Ferro


Dear St. Francis Students, Faculty and Staff,

Alas, this is the end: the closing chapter of our (seniors) career at St. Francis High School. There have been times of despair, joy, frustration, happiness,

sorrow, exultation and bonding. Each of these emotions has built up upon one another to form a gigantic snowball known as the high school experience.

Now, here at St. Francis we have undergone a different spectrum of memories. Being an all-boys school, what we lack in females we gain in brotherhood. To me, St. Francis would be a distant shadow of itself if the school became co-ed. Something would just be off, almost like a kink in the chain of a bicycle. Don’t get me wrong, coed schools are fantastic in their own right, but so is St. Francis. Why?


Father Tony has said this quote a lot when describing St. Francis:  “every time an alumnus comes to see me, the first two words out of his mouth are brotherhood and Kairos.” I would say the same with the addition of another: the people. The faculty and staff at St. Francis represent an elite group of individuals who share a moral and intellectual vitality unlike any I’ve ever seen. Without them, my experience and the experience of many others at St. Francis would have been entirely different. They are the glue that keeps the school operating. They are the key to unlocking and cultivating the hearts and minds of the student populous.


As for brotherhood and Kairos, they too are very important words to me and to a lot of my graduating classmates. Brotherhood is an all-encompassing word that summarizes what it means to attend an all-boys Catholic school. Over the course of four years, a class develops certain bonds that tend to last years beyond high school. At St. Francis, this statement is intensified by a thousand. Not only are bonds established, but also classmates begin to refer to one another as “brothers.” Now, this term can easily be mistaken for a code word meaning “buddy” or “friend.” But literally, St. Francis inculcates the values of brotherhood and friendship so fervently where the term “brother” carries the same amount of baggage that the word ordinarily implies. Personally, I have been a member of the Academic Decathlon team for four years, and it is safe to say that every member on the team, at some point or another, viewed each other as brothers. The same can be said for any group activity on campus whether it is sports, theatre, clubs, etc.


But going beyond brotherhood, Kairos adds another dimension of spiritual unity. This year I had the good fortune of being a candidate on Kairos 80, in October, and a leader on Kairos 82 in April. Typically a senior-laden retreat, it cements the bonds already established between classmates during the course of their past three years. Best friends become even closer, and even more extraordinary, students who may not have known each other before the retreat call each other brothers after. I can’t go into the details of the retreat, for the sake of the younger classes, but know that the retreat really lives up to its praise. In a way, it is the culmination, the climax, of a student’s four years at St. Francis and incorporates every aspect of the school into its experience.


Speaking of climaxes, we seniors are done with our high school careers. Only yesterday did I walk onto the campus of St. Francis as a freshman and experience the agony of climbing those stairs. Time flies, perhaps too quickly. As much as I relish being a senior and graduating this Saturday, I also feel an opening begin to form in my heart. The memories gained during my four years are now just that, memories. College waits, but the void between high school and college seems infinite.


As much as it is a cliché, high school only happens once in life. Before you know it, the journey is over. So to the current freshmen, sophomores and juniors of St. Francis, enjoy your pilgrimage, because you never truly miss something until you realize that it is gone. And when it’s gone, make that nostalgia a permanent imagine in your head. Something that you can look back upon with pride and say, “Those were some of the best times in my life.” I know that they were for me.


Chris Ferro

SFHS Newspaper