It was a day to honor a man who for years has helped shape Xavier students, and to recognize some students themselves who are shaping up to be leaders of the future.
All of it happened in the presence of the Most Reverend Michael Cote, Bishop of Norwich, here to celebrate the Opening of School Mass Monday with the Xavier High School community.
After Mass, a tree in the courtyard was dedicated by Bishop Cote in honor of Brother Brian Davis and his service to Xavier. Brother Brian Davis, C.F.X., was at Xavier from 1982-1986 and returned as Headmaster from 2009-2017. With that honor, he joined his predecessors in the longstanding tradition of having a tree and plaque in his honor: Bro. Robert Sullivan, Bro. John Kerr, Bro. James Boyle, Bro. James Kelly, Bro. Lawrence Harvey, and Bro. William Ciganek.
Brother Brian is "retired" in name only. He is the director of the Brothers Community here at Xavier, assists in Campus Ministry, is on the Members Committee of the Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools, and on several XBSS school boards. He recently was named to the General Council by the Xaverian Brothers at meetings earlier this summer in Rome.
"It's an honor to be recognized along with all the other Brothers," Brother Brian said after the ceremony in the courtyard.
Among the messages Bishop Cote gave the Xavier students at Mass were these:
"I wish you much success and a time of growth."
"We are the Lord's hands and feet and mouth and voice and heart."
"I encourage you to make Sunday a Holy Day – the joy of the Lord's Day, Sunday, is a gift to refresh and strengthen us."
Bishop Cote also granted the Bishop's Holiday to the Xavier students – a day off at the discretion of Headmaster Dave Eustis. There were a number of students recognized at the end of the Mass by Principal Brendan Donohue who then received awards from Headmaster Eustis and Brother Brian.
The day off, a tradition, drew major applause but so did the recognition of Brother Brian's service and the students who received awards.
As Bishop Cote left the Mass, he stopped to say a few words to Santiago Pacheco-O'Donnell '20, seated at the end of an aisle and on crutches.
ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS were awarded to the students who earned the highest unweighted grade point average in their class in the 2018-2019 school year. This year's recipients:
Class of 2020: Akshay Khunte and Alexander Pralea
Class of 2021: Ryan Frier and David Jerman
Class of 2022: Aidan Higgins
THE BROTHER HAROLD ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIP was established by Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Pacholski, uncle and aunt of Brother Harold Pray, to recognize a student at the conclusion of his sophomore year who has excelled in the Accelerated Program. On recommendation of the faculty, the recipient was Sean Collison.
THE BROTHER HOULIHAN ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIP was established to recognize a student in the College Prep Program at the conclusion of his freshman year who has worked to his maximum potential throughout his initial year of study at Xavier. On recommendation of the faculty, the recipient was Luke Solomon.
Each year the BROTHER CELESTINE MEDAL is awarded to students who, upon the completion of the past academic year, have an overall final average of A with no final average grade less than an A- in their major subjects. This prestigious award, which a student can receive only once during his four years at Xavier, is the highest academic tribute that the school bestows. The award is named after Brother Celestine Killigrew who taught history and Religion, coached the freshmen soccer team, and ran the bookstore at Xavier in the early 1960's. Brother Celestine died at the age of 25 as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. The Brother Celestine Award was created to honor this beloved teacher's memory. The recipients:
Class of 2020: Mark Grasso, Giovanni Imme, Sean Kelly, Samuel Martin, Antonio Milardo, Griffin Moore, Dinesh Ramchandani.
Class of 2021: Logan Barnes, Sean Collison, Wesley Harris, Sam Zhao
Class of 2022: Joseph Barbagallo, Christopher Beaudoin, Andrew Cataldi, Adam Chasse, Nicholas Connors, Scott Cunningham, Nicholas Cusano, Carter Dahl, Selorm Dogbey, Ryan Godburn, Eduardo Gonzalez, Vincent Graham, Aidan Higgins, Duane James, Sanchit Kikanamada, Kyle Kirejczyk,Matthew Kraus, Drew Kron, Colin Loria, Dillon Luke, Nicholas Martin, Evan McDonald, Wyatt McElroy, Ashton Murphy, Matthew O'Connor, Peter Olis, Bennett Pancoast, Justin Patenaude, Mario Pugliese, Samuel Rector, Noah San Vicente, Liam Sheeley, Ethan Shen, Julian Sicurella, Luke Solomon, Jack Susca, John Szeghy, Bryce Tindall, Matthew Tracy.
Xavier is a private, Catholic all-boys high school in Middletown, CT.