The Spirit of Gratitude

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I hope I have come to find you, the reader, on a blessed and optimal day. In my reflection today, I would like to point out some individuals that make Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO) such a meaningful place for me. But first, some reflection for why I have chosen them.

Often times in the modern day world, I find myself fixated on many individuals whose actions can be boiled down into individual survival and self-promotion. Many of these traits I can see in many of the young men we work with, because of a lack of maturity and the constraints of social media. Many of our students are masters of self-promotion and marketing in our digital age, but I believe this has led to many disconnects between themselves and the rest of society. This is why I believe that these three individuals educate far beyond the classroom in ways that are unseen by many. Their work is a premium example of selflessness, and their character fights the persistent and flawed modern day thought that we are separate from the world, and I find God within them in many ways.

The first person I would like to point out is Marvin Grilliot. Marvin has shown me nothing but grace since I have been at Rockhurst and our connection – like that of old souls – has brought me to many fruitful conversations with him. His genuine nature is masterful and such a rare gift that I find myself in awe when he communicates with students in the Hurtado Scholars Program. Not one individual personifies Theodore Roosevelt’s quote of, “speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far,” more within my mind, as Marvin carries his leadership in his actions. As soft as his heart is, he is not afraid to be stern when he needs to, all with the young man’s growth in mind. I have never met a more perfect hero for these young men, in that they are growing up in the age of distraction, and Marvin offers them nothing but intention and heart. I look up to you more than you know, Marvin, so thank you.

The second person I would like to acknowledge is Vincent Giacabazi, SJ (no, I am not sucking up!). When someone looks at Vince and I from the outside, you could not depict more different beings. Even though he jokes with me about weight lifting and my diet, I could not be more blessed to know him, and I wish everyone had the opportunity to meet him. He carries an aura around him that simply few leaders have, and anyone who knows him would tell you that. His detail and attention to the little things in life, his significant understanding of the present moment, and his immense gratitude have bled into my everyday life. His education and extravagant vocabulary are only the surface of who he truly is, and the boys of Rockhurst could not find a better example of God’s true work. Thank you, Vince.

Finally, last but not least, Mr. Anthony Re.  When we talk about truly selfless human beings and giving their all to a community, no one is even close to this man. He lives and breathes Rockhurst High School and the Jesuit mission, and his students are lucky to have such a positive role model within their classroom. I have never seen someone willing to give their time, even on the spot at times, the way Anthony does, and he gives his service with everything he has. He has been the glue of our ASC community, and his positive energy is something I value more than anything. Anthony has helped me through some very difficult times, always willing to keep an open ear no matter the situation. And finally, Anthony is the definition of an Ignatian educator, and Rockhurst High School is beyond blessed to have him. He has gone far and above his service in ASC, so thank you, Anthony, for being a role model for me.

These three men are unsung heroes within our present day society, so I wanted to give them the spotlight for a change. Thank you, in the most genuine way.

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