On a sunny late summer morning, 218 young men, the product of diverse and disparate families, communities, and grammar schools, converged in O’Keefe Commons to begin, together, the journey of a lifetime.

The freshmen received their schedules, met their homerooms, and learned more about life at Prep. That ranged from day-to-day policies and procedures (including JUG, naturally!) to an introduction to the culture that sets Prep, as a Jesuit school, apart.

The latter came courtesy of the Class of ’21 Big Brothers, as well as Prep’s new president, Dr. Michael Gomez, ’91, who explained the concept of love as lived by a Jesuit school. “It’s a love that’s going to surround you with people who are going to push you, and motivate you, and teach you what it means to stretch for something you didn’t think you could get,” Dr. Gomez told the class. “It’s the type of love that’s going to make you understand there’s no such thing as impossible. It’s the type of love that will give you a different definition of excellence, and teach you how to be a man and to be a Marauder.

“Sometimes it’s the kind of love that, when you’re not giving 100%, you’ll learn that’s the greatest sin at Saint Peter’s Prep,” he continued. “It’s not messing up; the greatest sin is not trying your best.” Whatever coursework the Class of ’23 will encounter in the years ahead, they can be assured of learning resilience, persistence, generosity, humility, and community, along with the love and courage it takes to live those values.

The freshmen will return to campus next week for the IgNite retreat and the Mass of the Holy Spirit, before starting classes on September 9. An incredible journey has begun. Dr. Gomez told the freshmen, “Whether you know it or not, your whole life has changed because you showed up today.” The generations of Prep men who have gone before would surely agree.

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