Last week the Class of 2023 received their official on-campus welcome. On two occasions in the past I have had the honor of addressing them, and I must say that the view from the podium is stunning. Looking out at four hundred new Ignatians and their parents is not so much daunting as it is impressive – these families are not only willing but are truly excited to begin a journey that officially lasts four years, but in reality lasts a lifetime.
One of the highlights each year at these welcome events is the film produced by our talented marketing folks led by Angela LoBue. This year’s film (see below) featured student Deloren Tisdel ’19 and focused on his advice for the incoming Wildcats.
Deloren began by citing the Prayer for Generosity of St. Ignatius Loyola as something that helps students to focus on the necessity of becoming a good person. That prayer remains the foundation of all that drives the mission of Saint Ignatius and all that we hope for each student as he continues beyond his time at West 30th Street.
After having eloquently laid out some highlights of his four years on campus, Deloren concludes his interview by looking directly into the camera and declaring, “My name is Deloren Tisdel, and I found my voice at Ignatius.”
That is a mike-dropping kind of moment, and the perfect conclusion to the message that we want to deliver to every student who ever walks through the doors marked St. Ignatius College.
“I found my voice at Ignatius” is the kind of phrase – and sentiment – that, while mostly unspoken, has permeated the environment of these hallowed halls for over 130 years. It is not by coincidence that alumni of Saint Ignatius are fiercely loyal, and that loyalty comes in part from the school’s fostering of the unique talents of each individual student.
Deloren spoke of entering high school and imagining himself as a multi-sport athlete and leaving after four years as an accomplished thespian. His transition from the athletic field to the stage of the Breen Center was guided by David Hoover ’03 our Drama Director. The fact that David has numbers after his name is an indicator that he too could say “I found my voice at Ignatius.”
If today’s newly admitted eighth graders are anything like I was back in 1973 they can’t wait to be on campus every day and become full participants in the life of Saint Ignatius High School. The thrill of being at the top of the grade school totem pole has lost its luster, and all that matters is the official beginning of freshman year.
Once here, these young men will be challenged every day to “find their voice” in the classroom, in service, in athletics, in the fine arts, in all of the many aspects of life at Saint Ignatius. It is that challenge, and the context of that challenge as presented by Ignatius himself in the Prayer for Generosity, that gives Our Famed Alma Mater her voice – a voice that is a chorus of all those who have ever attended Saint Ignatius, and which now includes the Class of 2023.