During Regis' Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation, John Clyne '20 delivered an address on behalf of his classmates. Clyne's words, which he recorded from his home, are published in full below.
To Mr. DiNovi, Chairman, and the rest of the Board of trustees, Father Lahart, Father Andreassi, all of the faculty and staff that make Regis so special, and all of our parents and families who have supported us over these four years, thank you.
To all my classmates, who have shaped me in ways that cannot be expressed, and who have taught me so much, I sincerely thank you. Because of you all, Regis is a place that I call home.
For the past few weeks, I’ve wondered why I had been chosen as the graduation speaker. After much thought, I’ve concluded that it must be because of my classmates’ deep respect for my renowned academic prowess. There could be no other explanation.
Days ago, I sat, watching the end of The Last Dance, the ESPN series documenting Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. As I contemplated the complexity and drama of their “Last Dance”, I found myself considering our own. Now, in general, Michael Jordan has taught me a lot. He motivated me to get cut from the basketball team my freshman year. His competitive drive inspired me to take the softball game on Bear Mountain Day EXTREMELY seriously. Lastly, it is only because of him that I have CHOSEN to contract an increasingly worrying case of male pattern baldness. Yet, some of the other lessons he revealed are perhaps more important, especially as we reflect on the close of our four years at Regis.
The Bulls path to success was certainly not a layup. Likewise, on our path to graduation, we have faced many challenges that have forced us to persevere and learn from our mistakes. None have proven more demoralizing to me than my clashes with the Bridle Path in gym class during the one and a half mile run. Far too often I was passed by THAT kid in class who I could have sworn I was more athletic than. As I contemplated quitting- faking heart attacks, asthma or both, I usually decided to suck it up and just walk the rest. Next class, though, no matter my previous struggles, I would attempt to overcome that barrier once again. Inside the classroom, we all struggled as well. I vividly remember questioning why I ever chose to write about the “Young Turk Revolution” for my junior year research paper. My teacher likely found the topic as exciting as I did as it was deemed “satisfactory minus work”. Still, I learned that I had to recognize my errors, and avoid them in the next paper. Regis humbled us all. As we entered Regis, like college basketball stars joining the ranks of the NBA, we felt invincible. Yet, with a single bridle run, even the fastest runners had their boundaries pushed. Or with a research paper, even the smartest students were challenged beyond their comfort zone. These events only served to unite us as we realized that we were not perfect, and that we ALL had to work hard in order to succeed.
For Michael Jordan’s Bulls, seemingly trivial moments whether in the locker room or in practice served as catalysts for success. At Regis, the most commonplace, natural occurrences are often the most special. Sometimes, certain terms or ideas just naturally caught on. Each Regis senior most certainly remembers yelling “Bart” back and forth to each other in public spaces. Or, saying hello to Mr. Galarza in the library a little too loudly only to receive JUG from him in return. Finally, it’s impossible to forget the “chaos” that would ensue every Friday in the locker room after school. Incessant banging on the lockers and screaming marked the celebration of the end of a long week. These moments served as the foundation for our growing friendships and vibrant community; they fostered our personal successes.
Some moments were not so minimal. As a class, we experienced larger victories that allowed us to truly realize what a great community we were part of. At the Tripleheaders, we did not, per se, experience literal victories, but we once again realized that something special was at hand. We stood together as noble hearts to cheer on our classmates. As a class, we are not the 90s Jazz, merely another failed title contender; we are bound for greatness. This greatness revealed itself spiritually as well. Despite participating in different Quest retreats, we all remain bonded in our shared Quest experience. We learned to recognize the love present in our own lives, whether from friends or family. In recognizing that fact, we grew closer to God. Everyday, we try to bring that spirit and love into action.
Our success as a class, though, should not be wholly likened to that of the Bulls. For the Bulls, Jordan dominated; Jordan was the clear leader. He led by example, and he led by ruthless competitiveness, seeking only to win. What makes Regis so special is that students are united to serve a higher purpose, one they may not always be aware of. They hope to better their own lives and to better the world. A spirit of generosity, openness and unity pervades our halls. The smartest students do not feel ashamed to ask for help from one of their peers. In fact, I can confidently say that if not for my classmates, I would not have gotten through Physics class with a passing grade. Nights before Physics tests, I would often call my classmates at two in the morning with a question. Those calls rarely went unanswered. Most days, one can walk through the library to see all different types of people working with each other. A student in the Regis Rep working closely alongside classmates in the Hearn. A basketball player giving help to a member of the Computer Club. Regis takes students who, at face value, seem so diametrically opposed, in all their interests and skills, and brings them together, as classmates, and as brothers. Brothers who willingly admit that they are hopeless in one academic subject or another. Brothers who shamelessly meet with teachers to relearn everything they have already been taught. It is that spirit that breeds success. As classmates, today we leave each other, but that spirit unites us indefinitely. We are a team of selfless, generous individuals. We have no Michael Jordan. We don’t need a Michael Jordan.
Our commitment to generosity extends beyond the walls of Regis. Many students, including myself, doubted the impact of the service we elected to do in our senior year. Yet, after just weeks, most students felt a sense of purpose working with the people they assisted. Some even feel that leaving their service site and abruptly ending the relationships they formed has been the most difficult part of this unfortunate end of year. We remain eager and hopeful for a time when we can serve others again. Gentlemen, as we go out into the world, take that spirit with you wherever you go. Be honest and humble about what you know and do not know. All the people around you have a breadth of knowledge and experience that can transform you. So, ask for help. Admit that you are wrong. Do not limit your interactions to only those who think, look, and act like you. Be open, be humble, be generous.
Nevertheless, I do concede that this end of year is not what we all hoped it would be. This time was supposed to be filled with meaningful ceremonies and traditions like Prom or that coveted, annual, seniors-only visit to the childhood home of Dr. Anthony Fauci in Brooklyn, New York. Unfortunately, these are not possible. Still, all of us share a bond that transcends the computer screens in front of us, or even the interactions we could have had at prom or graduation. So, remember the things that make Regis great. The hard work required that caused us all to learn to persevere. The individuals, traditions, and humor that made Regis a truly fun place to be. And, most importantly, the brotherhood. Though we leave Regis as students today, these three concepts remain. The brotherhood still persists. No matter where we go in the world, remember you always have your classmates at Regis to depend on. These lessons do not leave you as you leave Regis. Rather, they remain through the memories and friendships that you share with your fellow Regians. Gentlemen, the time has come, like Mike in ‘98, we still have one more ring to get: our diplomas. But, for us, these diplomas mean much more than a championship. They symbolize four years of intense growth intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. They demonstrate that we are as ready as we can be, and that the future is now in our hands. Though today may be our last dance as Regis students, it is certainly not our last dance as brothers. Go forth and set the world on fire. Thank you.