I am honored to be writing my first letter to you as the Interim President of my alma mater, West Catholic Preparatory High School. I am fortunate and grateful that I have been able to serve this school and its students in a multitude of different roles for almost 12 years. Like many before and after me, my experience here as a student changed the course of my life.
While attending West Catholic, I wasn’t what you would call a model student. I had not yet learned the focus and the discipline necessary to do well in the classroom. By the time I reached my senior year, I was coasting through life. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to attend college, and I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. One day, a young Christian Brother I had gotten to know, Brother Brad Flint, pulled me out of class to talk. He asked me about my plans after college. I told him I wasn’t sure what I would do. He responded by saying, “You should consider being a teacher…I think you would be good at it.”
I always felt like becoming a teacher was for students who got better grades than I did, or followed the rules more closely than I had. But in the weeks and months following, I couldn’t shake what Brother Brad had said to me. He must have seen something in me that I had yet to see in myself- and that I couldn’t see on my own. I started to kick around the idea of going to college and coming back to teach at West Catholic. A year later, Brother Brad died in a tragic accident. I remember how much hearing that news impacted me, and it made me realize the impact educators can have on their students. It was in that moment that I decided that I needed to follow Brother Brad’s advice.
Three months after I graduated from college I walked into the halls of West Catholic as a member of the school’s faculty. In that 45 second conversation with Brother Brad he was able to make me see something in me that led me to become a teacher. That is the power of education, it provides the opportunity to build bonds and connections with young people and to encourage them along their path.
As I contemplate the upcoming school year as president of West Catholic Prep, I recognize the year ahead will present a unique set of challenges. The stress and anxiety our students are dealing with as a result of the pandemic are at the forefront of my mind. I’m also concerned for our families, many of whom are dealing with financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19. The Lasallian mission of our school becomes even more critical during times like this. We must provide our students and families with the love and support they need during such a difficult and uncertain time. In a world that is filled with uncertainty, one thing that I know will remain constant is this incredible community of alums and supporters who are the foundation of West Catholic Prep.
While Brother Brad started me on this path, I have stayed on this path because of people like you who love and support West Catholic Preparatory High School. The continued loyalty and dedication of this community provides an opportunity for the next generation of students here to have a spark ignited in them that will change the course of their life. Thank you for your continued support, I look forward to serving this incredible institution alongside all of you.
Andrew Brady, ’02