On Tuesday afternoon, the Student Center was filled with alums who returned for the annual José Rincon Memorial Basketball Game. There were boys and girls from high school and college who came to not only play some spirited games against our current students and faculty but also simply to be on campus, back in the community that they feel very much a part of. This annual gathering honors the memory of a member of our community whose young life ended much too soon. José was a member of the Class of 2008 when, in his eighth grade year, he was tragically killed while riding his bike. Since that time, we have honored his memory with our annual alumni gathering around the basketball court, a space that he loved. It is because of the sense of community that St. Michael’s alums continue to return.
As I watched large groups of girls running around to visit teachers or boys who traded high-fives as they returned to the gym, I marveled at the pride and love they all share in being members of our extended community. As one ninth grade boy remarked to me after a big hug, “I just miss this place so much.” And that’s what community is about. At St. Michael’s, once a member of the school community, always a member of the school community. The loss of one member is always a loss for the whole community, and we reach out to support one another and cheer one another on through the good times and those that are not so good. As a school, we are not always perfect. We learn what works and what doesn’t. We continue to work to improve with the idea of not only providing the best education but also the best environment in which to learn, to grow, to be a part of something bigger than a single person.
One result is a strong sense of community and belonging that our graduates take away on the last day. They are proud alums, and they are a bonded group, regardless of the schools they attend. St. Michael’s is their home court. It is where they are grounded. It is where they look for the essence of community, which still remains and will be there for them well beyond graduation day. On alumni day, we honor one of our own whose spirit will forever remain in our community, and we celebrate the magic that we all feel being members of the St. Michael’s family today and for many years into the future. For that, I am proud to be an Eagle!
Head of School