Class of 2022 Senior Reflections – Michael McGee ’22 and Timothy Kubiak ’22
Class of 2022 Senior Reflections
Michael McGee ’22
It is hard to believe that it was four years ago when we as a class sat on the Forum hill at the conclusion of our Freshman orientation. After hearing a passage from Scripture, and with reflective music to calm us, we were asked to focus our attention on a Pascal candle, a single flame that broke the darkness that surrounded us that night. Most of us did not fully understand when we were reminded that each of us is that light– and that our days at the Prep will be memorable when we generously share that light with those whom one day we will call brothers. For graduation, the Class of 2022 gathers on the same hill to remember, to celebrate, and to give thanks for the light that has been shared on this life-changing journey that has been ours.
Who would have known on that first night, when most of the faces around us were unfamiliar, that in a short amount of time this proud and peaceful glen would be our second home? And who would have known on that same evening that the education on this campus would be acquired as much on the ball field, the gymnasium, the stage, and the dining hall, as it is in the classroom? And who would have known that the journey to growth and maturity could be explained as much by our successes as by our losses?
I am sure that I speak for my classmates when I clarify that Saint Augustine Prep is not a place; it is an experience. And the experiences that have been ours have shaped the story of the Class of 2022 and give meaning to the value we place on Brotherhood. Yes, the Friday night football games, the stage productions that we performed, the countless chocolate chip cookies we devoured, our annual retreat, Brotherhood Day, the masks we had to endure, the ritual of gelling in and gelling out, and the struggle of learning remotely each, in no small way, have contributed to the bonds of friendship that describe us.
Hermit brothers, as we stop and give thanks for our life in Richland and for those whose love and sacrifice have brought us to graduation, we know very well that with the blessings we have received come responsibilities. Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” Yes, if our generation is called to effect change, whether in small or large portions, then the price of being a hermit brother is the willingness to share with others our experience of being a hermit brother. If we mimic the thoughts of William Shakespeare in Henry the Fifth, “We happy few, we band of brothers” then the story of the Class of 2022 will continue to be told and the shape of history will begin to bend because the flame we once held on this hill, the light that lives forever in our hearts, will continue to be shared.
Michael will be attending University of South Carolina this fall.
Timothy Kubiak ’22
Over sixteen centuries ago, our patron outlined his vision for the perfect community in his work, the Rule of Saint Augustine, with the following words: “The main purpose for you having come together is to live harmoniously in your house, intent upon God in oneness of mind and heart.” Almost four years ago, we affirmed our commitment to building this ideal community by signing our names in the Book of Hermits. Ever since we donned our blazers with the help of a brother that shining morning in August of 2018, the Prep taught us to leave campus today ready to serve the ever-growing needs of our world. The Prep educated not only our minds, but also our hearts, urging us to never rest until we found for what we were searching all along: Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas.
As we entered campus each morning, the sign that reads “Enter as boys to learn,” reminded us of our goal for the day — to become men ready to serve. In those first months, we did not know what would turn us into men who do not back down from challenges, but who face them and do what is right, fulfilling Saint Augustine’s plan. As we journeyed through those formative years with our faculty, staff, and our brothers at our side challenging us, we came to realize that what would make us men was printed throughout campus. What made us men was embracing, modeling, and living those Augustinian core values of truth, unity, and love.
One has found truth when his mind and heart have come to believe the same things, and the Prep was essential in bringing us to this realization. We realize that genuine fulfillment lies not in matters of this world but in those of a spiritual nature, those which bring us to know our God more closely, this is truth. We realize that going out of our way to do the right thing makes life easier, this is truth. Whether it was through undergoing meaningful self-reflection on Kairos retreats, exploring Augustine’s pursuit of truth in the Confessions, growing closer to God at weekly school-wide Masses, or choosing to write a literature essay instead of going to bed, we have and will continue to search for truth as the men Saint Augustine envisioned — as honest entrepreneurs, passionate professionals, supportive husbands, and loving fathers.
We have spent so much time in Richland each day that one could have mistaken this place for our home. Ironically, this would not have been a mistake. We worked here, we played here, and we ate here, yet what truly made the Prep our home are the profound relationships we have forged and strengthened here. The people we love are here. One of the facets of life in an Augustinian community is the willingness of its members to aid those who are struggling. And we, as members of the Brotherhood, did just that. We gave up our free periods to tutor those in need of assistance, we helped those who were new to our community learn the campus, and we encouraged our brothers after a tough loss on the field. We celebrated huge victories in a multitude of sports, as well as community time basketball, and also appreciated the beauty of our brothers’ artistic endeavors. These are all examples of how we “lived harmoniously in our house.” Now, our house is the world, and we are compelled by this culture of unity, a culture of “helping a brother.”
Brothers, over the past four years, we have been guided and inspired by countless people: our parents, who knew the value of a Prep education long before we did and sacrificed to make it a reality for us, who helped us grow into the men we are today; our teachers, who introduced us to academics that will become our lives’ work and pushed us to be better scholars and intellectuals; our coaches and mentors, who knew that we could achieve greatness; our Hermit brothers, who rejoiced in our successes and supported us in our struggles. For the rest of our lives, we will reap the benefits from the care and concern of those who love us. Serving our neighbor is how we show love. We served, we helped, and we learned what it means to be a team player, and we will further develop these virtuous practices as graduates.
In the words of Jesus echoed by Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
In the classic masterpiece Hamlet, William Shakespeare tells us, “We know what we are but not what we will be.” We face our futures in a world which unfortunately often lacks moral fiber, yet we are confident that our years at the Prep have prepared us to meet the challenges that we will encounter with the strong sense of values we have been taught. We will face these difficulties and travel this journey with discipline, as we have learned our lessons well, demonstrating the words of Sophocles: “Good lives are made so by discipline.” Our Prep experience has prepared us for college success, service, and careers that will make a difference in this ever-changing world.
At the Prep, we found truth through the harmonious fusion of our minds and hearts, and we entered a Brotherhood of unity that will last beyond our lifetimes, a Brotherhood we share with every other man who has undergone this same union of mind and heart and every boy who will. And love came naturally.
On behalf of my fellow graduates, I thank all who educated us and ask that you pray for us as we go forth in loving service. Brothers, remember that no matter how close or far we may journey, we will always have a home in the Brotherhood rooted in Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas.
Congratulations, Class of 2022. Thank you, and God Bless You.
Timothy will be attending Villanova University this fall.