My Prep story began in December 1998, when I spent the day at Grand & Warren as a Freshman for a Day. Jesuit education had certainly been part of my parents’ lives. My father was an alumnus of the Brooklyn Prep (since closed) and Saint Peter’s College (now University) and had earned a graduate degree at Fordham while teaching at Xavier High School in the 1970s. It was at SPC that he met my mother, as their Class of 1970 was the first to include women. But it was only as an eighth grader, following my freshman ambassador from class to class, that I began to understand for myself what made a Jesuit school special. Yes, I could see that the coursework was academically rigorous. Yes, the students – and especially the upperclassmen – seemed impossibly mature in my 13-year-old eyes. Those were good signs, but I had made a similar visit to another school already, and seen similar things. What set Prep apart was something else.
I didn’t have the words for it then, but to this day I remember trying to articulate what I had experienced as I completed the survey at day’s end. “I can see the sense of community between students, and even with teachers, that I would like my high school to have.” After four years in the classroom – not to mention more than a decade as Prep’s Director of Communications! – I now realize what I had seen was a reflection of what Jesuit schools call cura personalis, or care of the whole person. Then and now, Prep challenges students to grow not only academically, but also personally, spiritually, and socially. In the classroom and beyond, my classmates and I were challenged to grow into our best selves. We formed lifelong friendships, we learned to think critically and strive for deeper understanding, we experienced a faith that called us to shape our world for the better. I’m privileged to watch those same things happen for today’s students every day.
All these years later, I take particular pride in seeing students embrace Prep life beyond the classroom – whether representing the Marauders proudly on the athletic field, or honing skills and interests through co-curriculars. These offerings are more diverse than ever, and offer life-changing experiences both around campus and around the world. I know firsthand the impact these experiences can have. In upperclassman leadership roles on both the Petrean yearbook and the TV Studio, I had the chance to blend some of my favorite activities – writing, photography, graphic design, video production, etc. – into collaborative projects that helped represent Prep as we knew it to the community beyond. Since 2008, I’ve had the privilege of doing just that, every day.
Mike Jiran, ’03 is Prep’s Director of Communications.