The Class of 2023’s time at Christian Brothers is quickly coming to an end. We are wrapping up our classes, ordering our graduation cards, and soon enough we’ll be walking across the stage to accept our diplomas. I pondered for a long time on what I wanted to write about because I truly wanted my […]
The Class of 2023’s time at Christian Brothers is quickly coming to an end. We are wrapping up our classes, ordering our graduation cards, and soon enough we’ll be walking across the stage to accept our diplomas. I pondered for a long time on what I wanted to write about because I truly wanted my final article for Talon to reflect my time at Christian Brothers, and every time I wrote something out, I would end up pouring my heart out, which is not necessarily article material. However, I feel that this is the one time when this is acceptable.
My class in particular has had quite a wild ride throughout our four years of high school. We all came together at Lock-in in August 2019. We were either 14 or 15 with wild imaginations, and we all were excited to “grow up”. We could not wait for our first Holy Bowl, Homecoming, and so much more. But our freshman year was abruptly turned upside-down in March of 2020. We all heard rumors of CB taking a random week off because something called the Coronavirus was making people sick. We celebrated, excited for a break. Little did we know that we wouldn’t come back until a full year later, and when we did come back to campus, nothing would be the same.
“I was excited because I thought we were getting two weeks off, but after those two weeks I was over it,” recalls Carolyn Kauss (‘23).
Kids all over the United States were stuck at home for weeks on end, taking their classes over an app called Zoom. We sat at home longing to see our friends, teachers, and families. I remember taking my PE class over zoom and hating it. I despised doing pushups in my living room or group projects in different “break rooms.” I lost all interest and motivation.
“It was so easy to cheat on everything,” states Connor Lynch (’23). “I lost all motivation.”
After what felt like decades, we were finally able to come back to campus but in groups. We had a new system where one group of kids (Cohort A) would go Tuesday and Thursday while the other half of our class would stay on Microsoft Teams, and then the other half of the class (Cohort B) would go Wednesday and Friday, and we all had Monday off. When I first arrived on campus ,every student wore a mask, my teachers did not recognize me, and plastic covered the desks so we could be “six feet apart.” I was miserable. I would call my mom crying asking for her to come pick me up. Most of my friends weren’t at school on the same day as me, so I would sit alone at lunch questioning if we would ever go back to “normal.”
But all of CB came together again our junior year. We used an app called Safely and had to log in before walking onto campus. However, starting in March 2022, we were no longer required to wear a mask. Things were still a little rocky. Different versions of Covid were spreading, and we were all on edge, terrified that we would go back into lockdown. Many of us prayed that all would be well by our senior year.
It’s now May of 2023 and we graduate on the 26th. We have decided where we are going to college and it seems like in a blink of an eye our childhood will be over. Who would have thought after a year being stuck at home, wanting to leave, we are now leaving for real this time, scared to leave home. Our lives are about to change dramatically and I know many of us are scared. But our time has come.
Luckily for us, our teachers have prepared us for our college classes, and Christian Brothers have given us the strongest foundation to succeed. Everyday our teachers construct work for us, which while can be rigorous and annoying, prepares us not just as students but as people. We don’t give our teachers enough credit for all that they do. For example, Dr. Bill Iliff ’76 not only teaches his students the depths of anatomy, but he also reminds us that saying hello to the people around us can completely alter a person’s day for the better. He teaches with love, compassion, and reminds us that our grades don’t define us as a person.
“What I’ve learned from your class is your patience and resilience, and you have formed strong bonds that were neat to see from a teacher’s perspective,” he says with a smile on his face. He couldn’t be prouder of his students.
He also leaves the class of 2023 with a piece of advice.
“Take all that you have experienced with the community and family that you have seen here at CB and use that to bring together other people who have never found that type of family before.”
Dr. Iliff is one of those teachers who we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Another teacher who puts in 110% effort everyday is Mrs. Ashley Wake, who has three children of her own, comes to CB, and takes care of her students as if we were her kids. While she could be home with her babies, watching them grow up, she sacrifices that quality time in order to make sure we succeed.
“I want to communicate to you guys that you’re capable of achieving so much more than you ever dreamed of. And those dreams may change or evolve as you get older, but God has a plan for you,” she states smiling. “Your dreams may take detours but they are necessary to lead you where you need to go.”
Each teacher at Christian Brothers loves to teach, but most importantly they love their students. Every. Single. Student.
Each of us have our friend groups, some of which have been rooted since elementary school. Other friendships were recently created this year. Even if you have only known your friends for the past four years, I think I am safe to say that we all feel like family. The boys and girls I met my freshman year have grown into some of the kindest, most caring, and strongest men and women. I have full confidence that each of us will make a difference in this world.
Each of us have created memories at Christian Brothers which will forever warm our hearts. For example, Abby Madrigal-Geary (‘23) created her favorite memories at the STN Competition.
“I had the opportunity to get really close with the teachers and the juniors and seniors. The award ceremony was my favorite part because, while we didn’t win anything, we were having so much fun. I wouldn’t change my experience.”
Natalia Finney (‘23) reminds the underclassmen to “be open to new friendships, and when things get difficult keep pushing through.”
Each of us have had a different experience at CB, but the memories these past four years will keep us rooted at this school.
“I was so excited at the beginning of senior year. I couldn’t wait to lead retreats, go on Kairos and now I wish time would slow down,” Julian Isler (‘23) says. “All these students in our class… we have all been with each other for the past four years and now we will be hundreds of miles away.”
“Don’t be afraid of the future, simply trust the process,” Maddy Brennan (‘23) says.
It’s clear that the class of 23 is going to miss each other. But now it’s time to say goodbye. To our teachers, our friends, the classrooms where we grew up, the cafeteria where we waited in cramped lines, we say goodbye to everything. We are all about to start a new journey in our lives, where we are in control of our futures. It’s up to us to be the bright light in a dark world, to stand up for injustices, and to live everyday with the Christian Brothers motto: “Enter to learn, leave to serve.”
To the class of 2023, go confidently in the directions of your dreams, and live the lives you have always imagined. We got this! See you guys at our class reunion.