On Thursday, November 3, the REACH Class of 2005 was honored with the 2022 Deo et Patriae Award. The inaugural class of the program, this group of 29 men was recognized in front of friends and fellow alumni of REACH and Regis for its courage and dedication, which paved the way for hundreds of future REACH students.
Hosted at the New York Athletic Club, the Deo et Patriae Reception & Celebration serves as a formal recognition of all those who have given to the Annual Fund at the Order of the Owl level or above during the previous fiscal year. The evening's eponymous award is presented to a person or persons who have served Regis and the community in a distinguished capacity during the course of their lives.
“I am confident that the example set by the founding REACH class will continue to not just live on but thrive on for many, many years to come," shared Jake Maskara '23 (REACH '19) as part of the evening's remarks. “Words cannot express my thankfulness for the trailblazing, founding REACH class for providing my classmates and me with the opportunity to be in REACH. I can’t imagine my life without REACH."
While REACH has changed the trajectories of hundreds of Catholic boys’ lives over the past 20 years, the program began as a radical experiment that, while boasting a noble mission, had no proven track record. In 2002, the first REACH class and their parents took a tremendous leap of faith, dedicating their summers to rigorous academic work at the University of Scranton and continued classes on Saturdays throughout their middle school years. Over the course of the program, these students forged an enduring culture of leadership and service for REACH, and through their successes in high school, college, and their professional lives, these inaugural alumni served as the first testaments to the power of the program. Without the pioneering spirit, courage, and resilience of these first REACH students, the program would not have grown into the remarkable success it is today. Nearly 600 young men have followed in their footsteps since, growing as Catholic leaders committed to faith, scholarship, and service.
After opportunities to eat, drink, and socialize, Thursday's events began with a singing of the Alma Mater by current Regis students, followed by opening remarks and prayers from Vice President for Development Mr. James Kennedy '02 and History Teacher Fr. Arthur C. Bender, SJ '67, respectively. Mr. Doug Eickman '05, REACH Program Director, then approached the podium to recognize this year's honorees, as well as to introduce Mr. Stephen Sanchez (REACH '05), who offered remarks on behalf of his classmates.
“I have to say it's truly an honor and a blessing to be able to speak in front of you all on behalf of my brothers from the REACH Class of 2005," said Sanchez. “I want to start by saying 'Thank You.' There're a lot of supporters that are here that were with us since the inception of REACH, when it was just an idea, so I want to thank those that helped begin this journey for us, this opportunity that we were able to have. I want to thank those that joined in at any part during that journey. It's really, really important for us to be able to see this program grow and expand the way that it has. And I also want to thank any current and former REACH staff that have been part of that journey as well."
The evening concluded with Maskara' remarks, followed by words of appreciation to the class from President Fr. Christopher J. Devron, SJ. “Without being able to rely on the precedent of any outcome, you and your families brought only your faith and a strong desire to seek extraordinary opportunities that would allow your God-given talents and gifts to grow and to flourish," reflected Fr. Devron. “These aspirations and your generous response to this opportunity, your determination to commit to the principles of the REACH Program, created an extraordinary multiplier effect that we've just heard about. They helped develop a new path for dozens of young men throughout metropolitan New York City to grow and to achieve excellence, and in turn, to serve their communities as Men for Others dedicating their lives to God's greater glory."
Pictures and video from the 2022 Deo et Patriae Reception & Celebration can be found below.