Alec Stimac ’19 loves travel – but his reasons go beyond exploring new places. “You can go to Taiwan, Guatemala, or Morocco and meet someone who is exactly like you, even though they’re from a completely different culture, with different ideas on what life is about – and you grow from that. The reasons I go abroad are more than just work or study. There’s always an internal shift.”
In his junior year at Saint Ignatius, Stimac recalls having his “bubble popped” on a school mission trip to Guatemala. “I realized my privilege, living in my bubble in Cleveland, at Saint Ignatius and at home. Then in Taiwan, I realized I needed to slow down and take time to learn about myself. I was in a new place, fully alone. It was a perfect time to realize my potential and find out who I want to be, what I enjoy doing, what I want to write about and study. Next I’m headed to Morocco to study Arabic and multiculturalism.”
Stimac attended Broadview Heights public schools and volunteered at the West Side Catholic Center with his grandparents. He participated in Latin and French classes at Saint Ignatius during junior high and fell in love with the school. As a student, he was devoted to the Christian Action Team, becoming a leader with the L’Arche community for people with intellectual disabilities. Stimac also started a student volunteer program for Youth Challenge, helping children with physical disabilities play sports.
With his commitment to service, Davidson College in North Carolina looked like a perfect fit. Stimac was named a Belk Scholar, joining a program of “challenge seekers, intellectual explorers, servant leaders and change agents.” He received a full ride plus stipends for research and study abroad. Majoring in International Relations, he traveled to Taiwan to study Chinese at Tunghai University and work as a journalist for New Bloom magazine.
Stimac’s writing passion began with journaling and grew deeper in his Honors English class with teacher Terry McCafferty ’97. “Writing helped me grow and get over some of the stress I put on myself growing up. Writing is where my true self comes out,” he says. Stimac is considering a future career in journalism or perhaps working for the U.S. Department of State or an international development organization.
Last winter, he worked for former Cleveland mayor Jane Campbell, CEO of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society in Washington, D.C. On January 6, he was sequestered in a townhouse watching the news during the uprising at the Capitol. “There was chaos in the streets, and it was scary.”
Stimac is grateful for the formation he received at Saint Ignatius. He recalls an experience both humbling and moving, when students in C.A.T. gathered with Rev. Raymond P. Guiao, S.J. ’82 at the grotto to wash each other’s feet. “At Saint Ignatius, they taught me to follow my heart, not just my brain, and let God take the wheel. A Jesuit education is like walking into a misty rain. Only after graduation do you realize you were soaked in Jesuit ideals.”