ABy Robert Paradiso ’16
“At this time, I would like to introduce Andrew Garcia [’16], the editor-in-chief of the 2016 Crimson & Gold, who will make the yearbook dedication presentation.”
A hush permeated through the crowd. Suddenly, echoes of the names of various members of the faculty rumbled through the gymnasium of the Activity-Athletic Center, while Andrew walked up the stage and to the podium.
“The theme of the two-thousand and sixteen yearbook, ‘A Guiding Light,’ speaks to all of the experiences, relationships, and lessons we learn at Chaminade, each of which has helped guide us toward a brighter future. Chaminade instructs us not only in the ways of worldly success but also in the ways of spiritual virtue.” Andrew began, describing the overall message of this year’s publication.
Following the description, he slowly revealed the attributes of the dedicated educator who would receive the dedication. With each accomplishment rattled off, the winner became more obvious, and the students once again rumbled with excitement while Andrew finished his speech, saying, “The senior editors proudly dedicate the 2016 Crimson and Gold, ‘A Guiding Light,’ to a man who has devoted all of his life, energy, and efforts to continuing Chaminade’s tradition of excellence in guiding its students to all manner of success, Brother Benjamin Knapp [S.M. ’93].”
Bro. Ben graduated Chaminade in 1993 and continued his education at Manhattan College for his undergraduate degree and Adelphi University for his master’s degree. Shortly after, he began his teaching career in 1998. Since then, he has been one of the most motivated, driven science teachers on the staff of Chaminade High School. He actively moderates the Science Olympiad and Chaminade’s Envirothon Team, assisting each and every student, and has cultivated the team from a moderately successful program to one of Chaminade’s most competitive.
Additionally, since becoming Science Department Chair three years ago, Bro. Ben has introduced revolutionary ideas in order to advance Chaminade’s science program. He has approved the introduction of more challenging but rewarding material and is currently overseeing the construction of the new Science, Technology, and Research Center on the north-west side of Thomas Field. “The new building,” Bro. Ben said, “will help to advance Science Olympiad and science research as a whole.”
Bro. Ben moderates a homeroom of the youngest crop of Chaminade students and teaches both freshman science courses: earth science and oceanography. He educates developing minds not only in empirical matters, but also religious ones. A devout follower of Christ and His teachings, Bro. Ben advances the mission of the Marianist Order to bring young people closer to Christ through Mary by his daily class prayers in which he takes his time to reflect on the message.
Commenting about the dedication, Bro. Ben said, “I never thought I would get it. I consider myself as a marginal teacher at best, and I am impacted by all the people around me who do a much better job. Nevertheless, I am definitely grateful.”
The student body is grateful for Bro. Ben as well. “Bro. Ben was one of the first members of the faculty whom I met. From the the first day of 3-C Week to the last day of comps freshman year, Bro. Ben encouraged all of us to accomplish the best we can,” said senior Brendan Hines, who was in Bro. Ben’s earth science class and homeroom. “To this day, he asks how I am doing as I make my way towards graduation.”
We thank Bro. Ben for his lifetime of service and hope his influence will impact the student body for years to come.