Letter to the Class of 2018

Michael Vezzali-Pascual ’88, English Teacher

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Dear Class of 2018,
Thirty years ago this month, I was right where you are now, about to graduate high school, enter college, and take my first steps into adulthood. I remember my senior year clearly as one of the best years of my life. I had been involved in a ton of activities and I had had a blast with my Riordan brothers. Toward the end of the year, I was feeling a great swirl of conflicting emotions, like many of you are feeling: pure adrenalized excitement and anticipation about what was to come next, but also serious melancholy and heartache at leaving the school I loved so much. Like you, Riordan was the very place in which I had experienced intense, formative growth, which is why it was and is so special to me. Nevertheless, also like you, I was ready to begin my next adventure as the hero of my story. As I am writing this, I must tell you that I am feeling that same great swirl of conflicting emotions, but this time it is about you leaving. I am so excited for your next adventure in your hero’s journey, but I am also melancholy because I know I will miss you. What an incredible year it has been.

So, a few things before you go…

In “The Danger of a Single Story,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche writes: “Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

First, never underestimate the power of your own story to transform the lives of others. Likewise, never underestimate your capacity for love, hope, and change. At the heart of your Marianist education is to always keep the most vulnerable of society at the center of everything you do. This is how you change the world. With all of your incredible gifts and talents, you are expected to do nothing less.

Be fearless in your pursuit of peace and justice.

Be relentless in following your bliss.
In this tech-centered, rapidly changing and chaotic world, remember

Friar Lawrence’s words in Romeo and Juliet: “Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast.” Stay grounded in your humanity.

In reviewing your Senior Soul-Journ self-reflections, I was incredibly moved by your words of kindness, praise, and gratitude that you shared with me. I am extremely grateful that you have allowed me to be a part of your lives these last four years.

Peace and Love and Snaps,
Mr. Michael Vezzali-Pascual ’88