ABy Aidan Fitzgerald ’18, Nicholas Plante ’18 & Colin Capece ’18
Any tremendous accomplishment begins with a vision.
More than 200 years ago, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade had a vision himself. Believing that he could inspire others to become devoted to the Blessed Mother, he founded the Society of Mary. Today, the Marianists perform magnificent works of faith around the world, and Blessed Chaminade’s vision, as well as his commitment to making it a reality, is exemplified every day right here at 340 Jackson Avenue. It is incredibly fitting that on the day Chaminade honored its founder with a special student-body Mass, another Marianist visionary was recognized.
Today, the staff of Crimson and Gold, Chaminade’s yearbook, dedicated this year’s publication to school President Bro. Thomas Cleary, S.M. ’81. The yearbook is always dedicated to a member of the Chaminade family who has made a significant and lasting impact on the school and its community.
The name of the 2018 yearbook is “Ascension,” and it is difficult to find a Chaminade man who embodies this word more perfectly than Bro. Tom.
“Every day, Chaminade is ascending to new heights… Chaminade has made numerous strides in advancing its mission of academic excellence and spiritual growth. With the implementation of various curriculum and technology enhancements, Chaminade students are more prepared for college and career success,” explained Crimson and Gold Editor-in-Chief Liam Joyce ’18 in his speech this morning.
As the current president of Chaminade, Bro. Tom is the man who has been at the forefront of this tremendous growth.
“I’m extremely humbled by this dedication because I believe that what I get to do each and every day is a privilege,” explained Bro. Tom in an interview earlier today. “And, it’s fun! I get to work alongside an excellent staff and really great kids. The fact that I get to do what I do every day still astounds me.”
“I think this year’s theme is great because it really captures what we’ve been trying to do with our educational program here at Chaminade,” added Bro. Tom. “The title also reminds me of the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit in our work.”
Five years ago, Bro. Tom recognized a need for his alma mater to provide students with the skills necessary to make an impact on the world in the 21st century. He wanted Chaminade to empower its students for future success.
The president saw his dream begin to come to fruition in 2015, when the class of 2019 began its journey at Chaminade with iPads in hand. The following September, every Chaminade student was using the popular tablet. In the winter of 2016, the new Science, Technology and Research Center began to rise, and this fall, a new block scheduling program was implemented to best utilize this new space.
These enhancements have completely transformed the Chaminade educational experience. Students who graduate in future years will be well-versed in utilizing today’s technology, capable of thinking outside the box to solve real-world problems, and able to effectively collaborate with others to refine their ideas.
While the reception of this year’s dedication came as a shock to Bro. Tom, members of the faculty were not surprised that it went to such a deserving candidate.
Bro. Stephen Balletta, S.M. ’74 had only words of praise for his fellow Marianist.
“I think Bro. Tom is someone of extreme vision and courage, because the path that he’s set us out on is big—it’s substantial—and that means things are changing. There’s always the tendency to say ‘well, we’ve always done things this way,’ but I think he’s seen in a very visionary and perceptive way that the world is changing, and to best fulfill our mission we have to adapt to that,” he said.
As a leader, Bro. Tom has in many ways revolutionized Chaminade and its curriculum, yet he has also maintained a warm presence both inside and outside the classroom. Despite his duties as president, he still teaches theology to seniors.
“Bro. Tom always lets us know that he really cares about us and our success,” said Sean Kuttin ’18, one of Bro. Tom’s current students. “Even when he’s just answering a simple question, he makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room and is clearly interested in what you have to say.”
“Bro. Tom has been someone that I’ve looked up to for a very long time—all the way from high school to law school and beyond,” said Mr. Thomas Terrill ’10. “We’ve worked closely on many projects together, and he’s taught me a lot about being a leader and, more recently, a teacher. Most of all, he always lifts us up.”
Bro. Tom’s decades of faithful service to the Province of Meribah have shaped decades of Chaminade men, and as long as he’s around, there is little doubt that the Flyers will continue to ascend to new heights.