We encounter Christ
We become Scholars
We are Family
For many, the first sentence of the above motto might be the most distinguishing aspect of our school. While I hope to have made a compelling argument for our students becoming scholars, certainly Christ as the reason for these schools is more unique to us than most other schools in our community. However, I would argue the last sentence is just as unique and distinguishing as the first.
I found myself last week thinking of the “We are Family” aspect of our school and looking for ways to convey what this actually means and how this is a facet of our school that not only makes this a special place, but separates us from other schools. In doing so, I was flooded with memories that brought both smiles and tears to my eyes, on a consistent basis.
I know how I feel about the concept of Monroe and Family, but I struggled to come up with one specific thought or moment. I sought out the opinions of others to help in this process. I wanted to ask some of the students who have graduated and moved on into the world what they thought of Monroe as Family.
I thought calling some of my past basketball players would be a good place to start. Every person I communicated with shared something special. Here is what they had to say (Note: Some of the quotes have been edited to fit the space. If you would like to submit a testimonial, email firstname.lastname@example.org):
“When I think about Monroe as a Family, it reminds me of the time after a basketball practice when you told us about how most people make their lifelong fiends in college, but at Monroe the friendships you build are going to last a lifetime. After five years away fom Monroe, I know that this is true. I have not only great memories to look back on but also a huge network of people that I truly consider to be Family. Not just classmates and teammates, but teachers, staff and the families of people associated with Monroe. Going to school in Washington, I can’t fly home for Thanksgiving dinner. The Gambardella Family has opened their home to me for Thanksgiving the past four years. Things like that don’t typically happen at other schools. Going to Monroe built relationships with people that genuinely care about me and want to see me succeed. What more could I ask for from Family? “ — Conor O’Kelley
“When I think of Monroe, I think of how welcoming everyone was to me and how as years went on, the connection and relationships between me and my fellow classmates grew. Today, we are all so close. I also think of my Senior Buddy and how I thought of him as another little brother.” — Isaac Garcia
“I remember when I was a Freshman and the bus route was not an option for me. I walked to school, from the south side of Fairbanks, from August to mid-September until Scooter saw me walking one day and said he would pick me up every morning...keep in mind, I wasn’t exceptionally close with Scooter yet. Scooter picked me up every day for the rest of the school year. I told him, ‘Thank you so much bro, would you like some gas money?’ and he said, ‘We’re Family here at Monroe, glad you came.’” — Ryan Brantley
“I remember my senior year playing basketball. I had a classmate, Ola Carnahan, who never played basketball, but always took the time to wish us luck before every home and away game. I remember my dad sitting on the bench coaching - which was an upgrade from his usual position in the crowd. I remember my teammates who are still my friends to this day. Looking back, I see how I was a part of something much bigger than a school. I was a part of a community that supported me unconditionally. For the rest of my life, this is my Family.”
— Maija Hajdukovich
“For me, the Family that is Monroe, went beyond just my peers, but extended to
my teachers and coaches. Having Mass together as a school was special, not only
for me, but for my teammates and friends around me. Monroe taught me that it
isn’t about me.”
— Jalon McCullough
All of the above thoughts are special and help support what I already know; Monroe is not simply a school, but a Family. In the end, when I think of Monroe as Family, I think how blessed I am to be a part of this Family. I think of how lucky I am and how grateful I am. Perhaps, when all is said and done, this is what I think of most…and I smile.
Excerpt from the Full Curl by Frank Ostanik, CSF Athletic Director. You can follow Coach O on Twitter @thefullcurl. He’s up to 411 followers.