Freshman Leadership Day: The Time Is Now

If we all could go back to our freshman year in high school, what might we do differently?

In a way, that is what Freshman Leadership Day at Xavier is all about. Don’t wait. Act now. Take advantage of all the opportunities that exist at Xavier. Learn to lead.

“Take pride in the things you do on a day-to-day basis, working hard in school, getting your work done, being respectful to your teachers and peers,” senior Kevin Gilhuly, one of the football captains this year, told the freshmen gathered before him Thursday in Kohs Gymnasium. “Once you begin to do this, you can start to push others around you to be better.

“When a friend or teammate starts to get down on themselves or becomes lazy in getting his work done, challenge them to do that last rep, or get their work done on time, or whatever the case might be. … We are all in this school to help each other grow into young men. If none of us is willing to challenge one another, then there is no growth to be had for anyone.”

Step up. Step out. Take chances.

Greg Jaskot ’00, now the Associate Director of Development as well as the offensive coordinator, has done just that. He was a teacher, now he works in alumni relations and fundraising. He had never coached before he was asked close to 20 years ago by former Xavier coach Sean Marinan to be a volunteer freshman assistant in the football program.

It might have been easier to say no. He said yes.  He took the chance. Now it is a passion and has led to many close relationships to this day with former players. One is NFL quarterback Tim Boyle, who once said something that Jaskot will never forget: “Spread love and positivity.”

That is a message to be kind, help others, serve others. Don’t be that negative person. Become a leader.

Which brings us back to Gilhuly.

“Xavier needs its next generation of leaders. Who will step up to the plate?” Gilhuly asked. “Take it from me. It will not be easy. There will be times when you push yourself beyond your limits and you will fail, but the result, and the pride you can take in the hard work you put in, will all be worth it in the end.”

Gilhuly was one of the many seniors who helped lead the freshmen on this day. The event was led by Dan Jaskot ‘98 from Empower Leadership Sports and Adventure.

When Gilhuly was a freshman, when the Jaskots were freshmen, who knew they would be standing in front of a group of freshmen in 2022. But here they were.