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Rene's Speech - 2009

Good morning everyone. My name is René Alvarez and I’m co-captain with Brian North for the 2009 Class of ’83 Thanksgiving Drive.

In the Spring 1983 edition of the Jaynotes magazine, then President of Jesuit High School Fr. Harry Tompson wrote the following about my graduating class:

And I quote . . .

“This class goes out into a sad world; a world made sad by smallness and meanness, pride and selfishness, by the unending search for pleasure and by the diseases that man has yet to conquer. Indeed, in many ways our world is very sad. Yet, these young men of the graduating class of 1983 can take that spirit of joy which they have brought to Jesuit and take it happily into the world. The world needs and awaits these happy men, happily solving their time’s problems. If anyone can do it, the Class of 1983 can.”

I have no idea if Fr. Tompson knew something that we didn’t. We were not the most academically or athletically gifted class. There were always rumors that the faculty thought we were “different” somehow – we just assumed that was not necessarily a good thing.

One thing we were proud of was being Blue Jays. This class was infected with the Spirit of Jesuit High School. When we sang the Alma Mater, we shouted the words “Blue and White.”

But the spirit of Jesuit High School does not rest in the number of National Merit Finalists in the classrooms or the State Championship trophies held high on the fields. The spirit lies in the fact that we are men for others. It is drilled into you from the first day you arrive until the day you graduate.

Now is your turn to be men for others. This year’s Thanksgiving Drive comes at a time when the economy is still reeling from crippling blows handed out over the past year. More and more people are out of work and struggling to make ends meet. Most of you do not have to worry about your next meal – but many in our community do. For over 70 years, our neighbors have relied on Jesuit students to make their Thanksgiving Day a reason for celebration. Today, you are being asked to donate food items and money to help a needy family whose outlook for the upcoming holiday season is not filled with promise or hope. So far this year we’ve been asked to help feed over four hundred families. I’m asking you, the students of Jesuit High School, to do more than you’ve done before. Instead of going home and raiding the pantry for that dusty can of whatever is not your favorite and looking forward to getting out of class for a few minutes, think about what you can really do to make someone’s day a little brighter, a little happier, a little more hopeful.

Whether you bring in canned goods or volunteer to deliver baskets, do so with the spirit and joy of giving, while being men for others.

If anyone can do it, you can.

Class of 83 Thanksgiving Drive -> Project 83

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