“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go,” nineteenth-century Swiss author Herman Hesse wrote. Indeed, big picture transitions can be uncomfortable and painful, and few shifts are bigger than a young adult leaving the nest and going off to college.
On Sunday, Jesuit’s seniors began their proverbial farewell tour leading up to graduation on May 26 at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium. The class of 2012 came together for the annual Senior Mass and Brunch. Since the event happened to fall on Mother’s Day, the mass and brunch doubled as a celebration of Jesuit mothers.
The celebration began at 9:00 a.m. with a mass in the Terry Center. This last Jesuit mass for many seniors, featured some of the defining characteristics of recent Jesuit masses. Rector Billy Huete, S.J. presided and delivered a moving sermon on gratefulness. Seniors Chris Hurley, Will Fonseca, and Colin Taylor, Jesuit choir mainstays for the last four years, lent their vocal skills, and Ben Cordell ’12 played the guitar.
Mass ended with a couple of tearful prayers for seniors and their parents. After church, families filed out of the packed auditorium to attend brunch at the nearby Westin Hotel. Senior class president Jordan McRae took on master-of-ceremonies duty at the brunch.
McRae began by thanking his mother for her loving service, and calculated the aggregated price of her years of work (McRae determined that he owed his mother over $100,000). He turned over speaking duties to two speakers, a faculty member and a student, who were selected by the class of 2012 to speak at the brunch. In early May, the senior class was asked to select to speak a teacher and a student who best exemplified Jesuit ideals.
The faculty speaker, social studies teacher Dr. Joseph Ryan, did not disappoint in his speech. He delivered a surprisingly funny talk, at one point joking that “students must have picked me because they thought I was my ‘son’ and colleague, [English teacher] Austin Ryan.” The elder Ryan clearly prepared well for his speech, quoting a 1930’s Polish nun, Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, and Forest Allen at various points. His speech centered on personal authenticity, which Ryan singled out as an advantage of a Jesuit education.
Senior Chris Wallace, the much-loved student body vice president, followed Dr. Ryan on the stage. His brief speech highlighted the camaraderie and brotherhood that Jesuit’s seniors have built. “Other classes look at us as the smartest class at Jesuit,” Wallace said, “but we are so much more than a class of intellectuals.” He reminisced happily about the rites of passage of a Jesuit student: SAT preparation, “kan-jam” games, the Rube-Goldberg project, and the freshman insect collection to name a few.
Brunch closed out with president Mike Earsing wishing the class a warm farewell. “I tell people that I honestly love going to work every day,” said Earsing. “I love being able to see the amazing success and personal growth of our graduates.” Follow The Roundup in coming weeks for graduation coverage.