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A Goat Among Men

  Goat. Legend. Brother Bear. Securer of the Bag. Bae. To those of older generations, these words may initially appear as a collection of random, uncorrelated terminology (including a strange acronym and a pair of wild animals). It could possibly even seem like mindless rabble. But to many of the cultured students living and learning […]

 

Goat. Legend. Brother Bear. Securer of the Bag. Bae. To those of older generations, these words may initially appear as a collection of random, uncorrelated terminology (including a strange acronym and a pair of wild animals). It could possibly even seem like mindless rabble. But to many of the cultured students living and learning on the Christian Brothers High School campus, these words will seem eerily familiar. Besides being a significant part of the vernacular taken up by much of the male Falcon population, these words describe a man. One man. A man like no other. This man is Mark Christopher Powers (’18).

If you have been involved in one of the many aspects of the CB community, whether it be academic, athletic, or even spiritual, there is a great chance you have either interacted with Mark personally or heard of his legendary renown. He has gained a reputation as being one of the most eccentric, active students on the campus, and chances are you’ve felt his influence in some way. Whether it be on the field, in the pool, showing pride on courtside at CB sporting events, or eloquently sharing his commentary on Falcon Athletics on KBFT Sports live streams, there are few others who can offer as much to the Brotherhood as Mark does on a regular basis. He is well known and integrated throughout the storied history of our Lasallian culture, and his presence can be felt in a multitude of ways.

However, despite Mark’s broad popularity and influence within the realm of the CB community, his motives behind his constant active lifestyle remain an enigma to many. There are very few CB students who extend themselves to the level that Mark does and even fewer that participate in as many activities. So how does Mark accomplish and participate in so many fields? More importantly, why does he do so? And why does he say “goat” so much? I set out to answer these plaguing questions myself.

To begin clarifying some of the mysteries that lie behind such a renowned Falcon, I had to dig deep into Mark’s long history with the school, which as many will know, began even before he stepped foot on campus.

Mark’s mother, Mrs. Cecilia Powers, rejoined the Christian Brothers administration in the autumn of 2011, and she has been facilitating (and on the occasion, reprimanding) students ever since. With this close familial tie, Mark was integrated into the community before he even realized it. He had close connections to the administration side of the CB faculty before he even began his high school journey, and he was immediately familiar with the inner workings of the school. However, despite the benefits such an early integration had on Mark, something within him aspired to be more.

As I spoke to him within the confines of the KBFT storage room, Mark articulated this internal desire. “I want to be more than just the Dean’s kid. I want to be Mark Powers.”

Mark’s incessant quest to truly define himself as his own man is one he has been carrying on throughout his time at Christian Brothers. Mark conceived this quest in the beginning of his CB career, and he has been chasing it to fruition ever since.

Mark’s first foray into the Lasallian universe was his love of sports. The challenge and competition that lies within athletics of any level have long been a passion of his and one that continues to influence him in many manners. Whether it be talking smack over local and national teams with his compatriots, commentating on Falcon Athletics, or going hard in the pool, the paint, or on the field, sports largely make up the fabric of Mark’s extracurricular lifestyle.

Even before he began his Fall semester, Mark was a true Falcon sportsman. As a gifted pitcher for the baseball team and a swift runner for the cross country team, he was instantly an important part of the athletic world.

As Mark’s best friend (and the only person who rivals Mrs. Powers herself with his understanding of the eldest Powers son), Jason Carrey (’18) told the Talon, “To me, he’s my friend, but he’s more. Mark’s a smart student, but he’s also a great and talented athlete. He’s able to perform on and off the field.”

After the 2017 Men’s Water Polo section championship, Brother Bears Mark and Jason proudly flex the third section banner that they have earned in their CB Athletics career.

Numerous practices, games, and meets quickly became a substantial aspect of Mark’s life, a change that he eagerly shouldered. And with these new responsibilities came new connections.

In the sports world of Christian Brothers, new relationships based on camaraderie are beyond commonplace. You could go to any Falcon sporting event and clearly witness the brother and sisterhoods that are persistently being built and preserved on the field, the court, the track, or in the pool. It was this special sect of brotherhood that Mark instantly came across and became absorbed in. Mark can always be found conversing and laughing alongside all manner of CB students on the field or in the classroom. Mark blended well with the athletes and students he came across, and established connections and friendships that he carries forward today.

Despite his immediate blend into the CB sports scene and the relationships he forged in it, however, Mark was not completely at the point of activism that he wanted to be. Like many other underclassmen, Mark had an issue with coming out of his shell and being outgoing, especially in a social facet. And for Mark, this was a roadblock. But not an impassible one.

“I’ve definitely changed a lot. Freshman year I was hella shy and wasn’t really good socially,” Mark said unflinchingly. “That’s one thing CB has definitely impacted me in. It brought me out of my shell, made me a more confident person. I value that a ton going forward.”

And change Mark did. While numerous CB students merely stick to the activities they are familiar with throughout their high school career, Mark did just the opposite. Instead of crumpling beneath the weight of his extracurricular activities, he shouldered and took on more responsibilities. Mark took on many new activities throughout his years at Christian Brothers, constantly adapting and improving his lifestyle to do and be more. Becoming a retreat leader, joining Sports Broadcasting to persistently assist the CB sports scene, and even leaving his desired stature in Cross Country to join the water polo team (with whom he helped secure not one, but two section banners) are just some of the many new roles which he adopted. His reservedness began to fade, and he was far closer than he had ever been to truly defining himself within the community.

Mark wasn’t the only one who benefited from his participation in campus culture, however. His impact can be felt all around the school, and its long lasting impressions are quite apparent.

“In some ways I think he’s a great example of a kid who’s a relatively quiet, do-his-own-thing kid who stepped out of his box, and was encouraged by his peers and adults to do that,” Mrs Powers said proudly. “I think he’s a benefit to the community when he encourages others to do the same thing.”

Mark’s own statement on his benefit to the community aligns with Mrs Powers’s, as he eloquently told to the Talon. “Usually I’m glad I’m getting involved. Making CB a better place. That’s really what I’m trying to do.”

I myself have had the good fortune of knowing Mark for a lengthy period of time. Ever since our fateful meeting along the cool, green plains of the Joe Marty Field at the rear of the Christian Brothers campus under the banner of the SCC baseball team in the summer before our freshman year, I held a respect towards him. Right from the outset, I could see that Mark emitted a sense of pride and welcoming kindness to all those he met. He radiated an aura of positivity and confidence that made him easily stand out from his peers, and to the big-headed, acne-prone, 14 year-old version of myself, that was a very admirable trait.

Mark has continued this positive attitude throughout his time in the halls of the Christian Brothers campus, and he holds it as a sense of pride, guiding him through his numerous activities and responsibilities, and pushing him to take advantage of the opportunities that cross his path.

“I want to take full advantage of my time here at Christian Brothers. Make the most of it and do the most stuff. And when I’m involved in a lot of stuff, it keeps me busy, and it gives me a sense of purpose in my life,” Mark stated beautifully. “I’m never sitting at home bored, which is good. I hate that. I like to be busy and have stuff to do, even if sometimes it can get a little overwhelming.”

Due to his close friendship with Mark that has existed even before Christian Brothers, Jason was quick to spout his admiration for Mark and everything he does to improve upon the community.

“He really embraces his roles,” Jason stated, “He uses every aspect of CB. The community, the academics, the sports, he benefits and serves CB in all of them.”

It is virtually undeniable that Mark has an unique sphere of influence on Christian Brothers, and he is unafraid to use it to refine the community. Heading in to his final act, the second semester of his senior year, Mark has grown into a role model of sorts to the other eager students of the school. His ecstatic energy, committed devotion, and fiery perseverance are all commendable traits that younger students can take heed of. Though it may seem like an impossible task for many to live up to the legend of Mark Powers, one must simply remember Mark’s original struggles and obstacles. After all, Mark began his CB career as many other freshmen do — shy and reserved, but holding a powerful passion within.

“I think that other students could learn [from Mark] that stepping out of your comfort zone has a lot of benefits, ” Mrs. Powers wisely stated.  “That you have to put your fears or little lack of confidence that we all have and embrace your opportunities.”

In a similar manner, Jason charismatically spoke on what others could learn from Mark’s tapestried tale.

“We both came here from the same school, and we had like five friends coming in. And now, we’ve met and made friends with a ton of people. Also, Mark really extended himself into new things. He had never played water polo in his life, but junior year he joined the team, and he had a great time with it,” Jason stated. “That’s what other students can learn from Mark. Make new friends, join new things, and branch out like he did. You’ll like it and you’ll really benefit from it.”

Whether it be showcasing his adept talents on the field, providing wisdom and clairvoyance to his broadcasts, or simply making those around him laugh with his unique, jocular sense of humor, Mark is nothing if not a true benefactor to Christian Brothers High School, its people, its institutions, and its future. There is no doubt that, in the waning months of his last moments of high school, Mark will still strive and thrive within the Lasallian community and seek its progression and betterment in any manner that he can.

And you can be sure that the unique possibilities and excellent opportunities that lay ahead of Mark in his college career and beyond will be taken full advantage of. Whether he continues his affection for the world of athletic competition or finds some new and exciting avenue of success, Mark will fly fast and fly far into his own brave and exhilarating future. So the next time you see Mark giving his all in Falcon Athletics, delivering wise and insightful commentary on sports broadcasts, crossing the campus toting his signature chocolate-chip bagel (commonly misconceived as a raisin bagel), or sharing his unique and vibrant humor with others, take a moment to appreciate the copious hours he gives up to help improve and vitalize the Christian Brothers community. His work should not go unnoticed.

I leave you with Mark’s own wisdom which he wishes to share with younger CB students. “Don’t just fade away and take the easy route,” Mark said sagely. “If you get involved, you’ll have lasting connections that will go far beyond CB.”

As Mark himself would say in his own hysterical tongue, that’s facts. Big facts.

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