Christopher Hart ’21
Our Salesian Community has been greatly impacted by our current circumstances, arguably and most heavily, our seniors. It was their last year to shine and it was unfortunately abruptly cut short. It is important that we are able to understand how they felt about the situation and if they had any last words they wanted to say to our Salesian Community. I had the opportunity to interview a few seniors who were highly involved in Salesian life, in the likes of Steven Rice, Michael Passanisi, Ryan St. Jean, and Fausto Trinidad.
Question 1: What were you expecting going into senior year and how did you deal with the situation of Corona interfering with this?
Ryan St. Jean
“Senior year, I believe, holds this universal idea in every high schooler’s mind, past or present. It’s a time of celebration and triumph, but sadly this year neither of the two were experienced. I was looking forward to an exciting senior year where I would bond with my brothers a final time before we head to our next endeavors. The relationships we worked hard to develop these past four years, gone in an instant. Further, to experience milestones like prom and graduation. Sadly, we won’t even be able to take pictures in our cap and gowns in each other’s presence. There’s no real way to cope with it, as these are unprecedented times. It’s one of those things that’s out of one’s control, so I don’t dwell on the ‘what should’ve happened’, rather I focus on the good we’d experienced before the pandemic”.
“Coming into senior year I assumed it was going to be easy and I can enjoy time with my friends but little did I know that it started off pretty rocky than went ok till now. I missed seeing my friends in school but still see them outside of school so I’ve been handling things well”.
“Going into senior year was very exciting. You look back and you wonder how in the world you got to where you are. I expected everything to go smoothly, to be easy, but Salesian pushes us to become smarter every day which one day will pay off in the future. When Corona came, I knew the school would eventually close. I hear in the hallways kids wanting the week off but I had a feeling it would be longer than that and it was. As a senior, I didn’t view corona as something that would destroy my year. Salesian has already given me the best days of my life. I was grateful more than I was upset and that kept me sane.”
“Starting off senior year was a big event for me. It was the culmination of the previous 3 years and also the end of high school. It was a crucial time for college and making decisions that would impact my future. My expectations were simple: do my work, live everyday to the fullest, and try to make Salesian better for the next generation. Covid-19 halted all of the positive change that was occurring. It took away our last few months as the graduating senior class; it took so many memories we didn’t get to make. However it also made me realize how much of a brotherhood Salesian is and that we, no matter what life throws, will always remain united”.
Question 2: What message do u have for future senior classes to make their Salesian experience last?
Ryan St. Jean
“I’d say focus on building brotherhood. There’s no purpose in trying to make an experience last, experiences are supposed to end. By definition, an experience is simply an encounter. The interactions you have in this school are more than just an encounter. Understand that a student body is not meant to merely coexist, rather to thrive and embolden one another. Work as a cohesive collective and memories will naturally be created that will last a lifetime. Remember on graduation day, as you walk across the stage without a facemask and take pictures less than six feet apart, that graduation is an experience. It’s a representation of your hard work and a nod to your achievements. What you truly gained, however, is a brotherhood where you will always be welcomed.”
“ Enjoy every moment and make memories that you can take with you when you graduate”.
“ My message for future senior classes is don’t take anything for granted. Life is going to hit you, and it’ll hit hard but in those times you have to be grateful. Life doesn’t last forever, but the memories do. Don’t say “I can’t wait to leave,” because the truth is you won’t realize until it’s too late on how great Salesian was. If you want to make the experience last I’d say so nothing, that’s when time is the slowest, but that won’t fulfill you, to hold the good experience forever, get involved, donate, help at school, and cherish your friends because you never know when you’ll see them again. Time will fly, all you have to do is make good use of it”.
“ To the Class of 2021, live each day to the fullest and make memories that will last a lifetime. Cherish the memories you will make and try each and everyday to make them. The goal in life is to make whatever you do better for the next generation; so my best piece of advice is to try your hardest to change Salesian and make it evolve for the betterment of the next generations”.
Question 3: How has Salesian shaped and prepared you to become the man you are over the last 4 years walking into this next chapter of life?
Ryan St. Jean
“President Reagan famously ended the 1980 Presidential Debate with a sequence of questions posed to the American people with the overarching theme of “Are you better off than you were four years ago”. This vague, but seemingly applicable, statement fits in this question as well. To answer, yes. Salesian has molded me into a good Christian man and an honest citizen. I’ve been given ample opportunities to broaden my curiosities in the classroom and hone my softer skills outside. This dynamic environment has prepared me for the next stage of my life where this rigid structure will not exist. It’s taught me to think resourcefully, which I believe is the single most important ability someone can have. Make use of the fruits given to you and you may create a bountiful garden to serve both yourself and your neighbor”.
“ Salesian showed me friendship, family, and brotherhood, respect, with diversity”
“Salesian gave me perspective on life, and by doing so, opened my life up to many things, most importantly God. They motivated me to get involved in activities, they told me that I can do great things, and thanks to them I did.
Salesian taught me faith and to hold God closest to your heart. They taught me hard work and dedication. They taught me that life has bumps and with God you can get through it. Putting together these things is what forms a great young man. Salesian has its 4 pillars and it sounds corny and cliche, but Salesian doesn’t just preach them they live by them and that’s a lesson I learned. Ultimately Salesian gave me another Home that welcomes, a School that prepares for life, a Parish that evangelizes, and a Playground where friends meet. Together they made me the man I am today, a man ready for what life brings with God by my side”.
“Salesian and its beliefs were instilled in me since day 1 of freshman year. The friends, teachers, administrators, and lessons over the last 4 years have prepared me for anything life may throw at me. The biggest aspect for me was my faith and youth ministry. With a strong foundation in faith and service to others, you can accomplish anything. I was opened to experiences and challenges that opened a whole new door of life for me. These experiences solidified my commitment to help others and pay it forward”.
From these four different opinions on their Salesian experience, it has all affected them greatly. However, this experience has not crushed their strong spirits. They all are showing what life is truly worth and that we should enjoy it to the fullest. High school is a chapter in our lives that we all must reflect on and learn from. If we are able to do this, we can not only enjoy college, but the rest of our lives to the max. “ NEVER TAKE LIFE FOR GRANTED”.