Now that my time at De Smet Jesuit has come to a close—a little sooner than I had planned—I’ve had extra time to reflect about my time here. Some words come specifically to mind when I think about my experience which are: brotherhood and leadership. I know these are probably words that you have heard used to describe De Smet so many times you might be numb to them, and I felt the same way coming in to De Smet.
Having been around my older brother who went to De Smet, I often was told how awesome the brotherhood was, but never actually knew what that meant. Now I know that it may be scary coming to a new school with close to 200 strangers. Whether you are coming in knowing 50 people, or coming in not knowing anyone,
I promise some of the people watching this now will become some of the best brothers you will ever have in your life.
I want to share with you what I view as the brotherhood at De Smet and why this is so special.
- Brotherhood at De Smet is coming early and staying late to mentor other students through National Honor Society.
- Brotherhood at De Smet is giving up your weekends and nights to give tours, help raise money, and partake in service throughout the Saint Louis area, if you want to, of course.
- Brotherhood at De Smet is getting together on a cold, rainy night to support the football or soccer team. Brotherhood is gathering together in shirts and ties in a crowded and sometimes overheated gym to celebrate Mass.
- Brotherhood is consistent through the tough times and celebrated in the triumphant times.
Simply put, brotherhood at De Smet is different than friendship.
Friendship is basically the more you like someone the more you would be willing to do for them. Brotherhood is different. Brotherhood has nothing to do with how you feel about the other person.
Brotherhood is a mutual agreement, a commitment, that you will put the welfare of the group, above your own. It is essentially saying “I love these other people, I love this community, more than I love myself.”
Especially in times like these, this brotherhood means the world to me and to the whole community. While we may all be spread apart, I have stayed connected with the De Smet community more than ever. Everyone at De Smet really does care about you as an individual and how you are doing. Through these times I have received numerous calls, texts, and emails from teachers and students alike who are simply interested in seeing how I am doing and making sure I am okay through these tough times. For example, my friends and I have been meeting in the De Smet parking lot to hang out (socially distanced of course) and simply catch up with each other. That is the beauty of the community you are entering into. We don’t let anything break our community.
De Smet is a place that acknowledges and embraces hardship, where we learn how to be successful no matter the circumstances. The De Smet brotherhood has taught me humility, selflessness, and purpose to a cause greater than myself and I credit this to the drive I have to continue these traits in the military. I hope that the De Smet brotherhood can transform your life as it has mine.
Secondly, leadership. At De Smet you will become a leader. Whether that is a leader on a sports team, a leader in a club, a leader in a service project, or even just a leader to your friends or family members. But you must get involved and put yourself out there, no matter how uncomfortable this can sometimes be. You will be pushed to be the best version of yourself. The most important aspect of your experience at De Smet is finding what you love, finding what you are passionate about. For some, this is easy. Maybe a sport or hobby. For others, you just have got to try everything.
When I came in to De Smet, I played soccer and that is all I wanted to be involved in. However, over the years I was pushed to step outside of my comfort zone, and pushed to get involved with different things. Eventually, I joined Presidents Ambassadors and discovered my joy in sharing De Smet with parents and eighth graders. Then, I got involved with National Honors Society in order to help other students. Even this past year, I joined a newly created Spartans for Heroes club which focused on helping veterans. Through this I really expanded my desire to serve in the military. What I am trying to get at is that De Smet is what you make of it, and I promise you it is better if you get involved.
I know it might seem scary. And I can promise you that you will fail; we are all a work in progress.
But the real challenge of growth mentally, emotionally, and spiritually comes when you get knocked down. Much like in these times. I know it can be hard to keep a positive attitude, but remember that you are a leader to others. So try to be the best leaders you can be. I know you can all change the world, and I cannot wait to see how you all will influence the De Smet community for years to come. Be a leader! Be a Spartan. Thank you, and good luck on this journey that will transform your life for the better.
This was the Freshman Orientation 2020 Keynote Speech given by Sebastian Martin '20 to the incoming Class of 2024 on April 21, 2020...just two days before Sebastian was recognized as one of our 12 Men of the Year.