Inspired us with your musical and theatrical talents.
The real value, though, of a Scecina education runs deeper than numbers or trophies. That deeper value lies in recognizing the dignity in every person while living your faith through acts of service.
As Pope Francis told young people at this year’s World Youth Day:
“Challenge yourselves, and with a pure heart do not be afraid of what God is asking of you! From your ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call, you will become new seeds of hope in the Church and in society. Never forget: God’s will is our happiness!”
I know you, as Crusaders, are up to this way of life and all the challenges, known and unknown, that lay before you now.
Soon, you will walk outside as Scecina alumni. You are forever fortunate to bear the “Scecina” name, the name of a devoted, heroic, even saintly, Christian and patriot.
Father Tom, who served as a United States Army chaplain during World War II with its indescribable cruelties, probably lived with fear. We can easily think of him as a neatly dressed and comfortable man, as the pictures in our main hallway indicate. A book titled "Ghost Soldiers," though, paints a completely different picture. "Ghost Soldiers" tells very detailed stories of United States and Filipino soldiers fighting, falling, becoming unspeakably ill, praying, dying, and surviving exactly when and where Father Tom did.
The stories of the physical and mental torture they endured cause great sorrow and gratitude to spring up inside you at the same time. To wrestle these challenges to the ground, Father Tom and his unit soldiers must have drawn upon immense courage, faith, and commitment to service.
Father Tom’s story proves that the fullness of our lives is not measured in years alone; his was only 34 years, yet his transcript of service and love has enriched the world for over a century.
He continues to enrich the Crusader community today. I’ll give you an example. Historically, many military units have issued challenge coins that bear the unit’s insignia or emblem. Challenge coins are presented to members of the unit in recognition of their achievements and to prove membership in the group. In other words, a challenge coin says that you are a member and have met the challenge.
Scecina’s Veterans Committee thought it would be appropriate to give each new Scecina graduate a challenge coin commemorating the life of Father Tom and his service to God, country and neighbor. This summer, each Crusader from the class of 2015 will receive a challenge coin depicting Father Tom, the school’s crest, and words of encouragement to live in service to God, country, and neighbor. I hope it reminds you of his faith-filled service and inspires you to make those virtues your own.
On behalf of everyone at Scecina Memorial High School and our entire community, thank you, congratulations, and may you rise to life’s joys and challenges as courageous Crusaders always.