St. F.X. wel­comes next gen­er­a­tion of X stu­dents

The Casket - - PAGE TWO - SAM MACDON­ALD sam­mac­don­ald@the­cas­ket.ca

St. F.X. was a busy, bois­ter­ous place on the Labour Day Week­end. Spir­its were high dur­ing the ori­en­ta­tion week­end at St. F.X., and cam­pus echoed with the sounds of wild, en­thu­si­as­tic cheer­ing from the new­est group of stu­dents to em­bark upon their Xave­rian jour­ney.

Stu­dents were in­tro­duced to their new home for the next four years and of­fi­cially in­tro­duced to the spir­ited Xave­rian cul­ture dur­ing ori­en­ta­tion day ac­tiv­i­ties that lasted through­out the day on Sept. 1.

This year, a group of more than 1,500 stu­dents made their way for the first time as stu­dents to cam­pus – a group that lined up Satur­day morn­ing to be per­son­ally greeted by pres­i­dent Kent Macdon­ald.

Macdon­ald, in a speech to stu­dents, and their fam­i­lies and friends, quoted Ir­ish poet Bren­dan Ken­nelly, stat­ing, "if you want to serve the age, be­tray it," adding, "that is our job. Not to al­low peo­ple to just go through and get train­ing … they’re com­ing here to be ed­u­cated, in the strange, com­plex world we’re in to­day. That’s our job, and the staff and fac­ulty are up for it."

"Give some thought as to why you are here at St. F.X.," Macdon­ald said in a speech to the new stu­dents, their fam­i­lies and friends on Satur­day af­ter­noon. "We en­cour­age to you re­mem­ber you’re sit­ting on a cam­pus en­ter­ing its 166th year.

Macdon­ald ex­horted stu­dents to explore their new home for the next four years, ref­er­enc­ing the ded­i­ca­tion of the Sis­ters of St. Martha in main­tain­ing Well­spring, the sto­ried his­tory and Celtic tra­di­tions held within the Hall of Clans and even the beauty of spa­ces like Con­fu­sion Square.

Macdon­ald re­counted an emo­tional mo­ment to the new stu­dents, ref­er­enc­ing when he dropped his son off to start study­ing at St. F.X. in 2008.

"Maybe some of you have had those same emo­tional mo­ments," Macdon­ald said, ad­dress­ing the fam­ily and friends of the new stu­dents in the au­di­ence, "but some­thing hap­pened…and I started to give some thought, and re­al­ized this is ex­actly what we were sup­posed to do. We’re sup­posed to pre­pare our chil­dren for this mo­ment when we set them free."

Macdon­ald noted the com­ing four years will be a time of growth for the stu­dents about to start at St. F.X., adding, "it’s our job not only to ed­u­cate in the class­room, it’s our job to try and pre­pare them to be­come car­ing, thought­ful, in­de­pen­dent adults."

Macdon­ald spoke highly of the en­vi­ron­ment on cam­pus, not­ing that be­cause of the small com­mu­nity and class size, "you know you’re sur­rounded by peo­ple who ac­tu­ally care about, and know you. That’s what hap­pens at St. F.X." Stu­dents spent the day getting ac­cus­tomed to their sur­round­ings, learn­ing about cam­pus through tours and be­ing handed their frosh kits amid a litany of cheer­ing and en­thu­si­as­tic chant­ing.

St. F.X. student union pres­i­dent Re­becca Me­say ex­pressed her ex­cite­ment to see the next gen­er­a­tion of stu­dents, and con­doned the de­sire for change that com­pels peo­ple to seek out higher ed­u­ca­tion.

"It’s a daunt­ing con­cept, but it’s why we are here to­day. The op­por­tu­nity to change our lives, and the chance to achieve our fullest po­ten­tial. Whether or not you ac­com­plish this is up to you – af­ter all, each of us are the driv­ers of our own ex­pe­ri­ences here," she said.

Me­say en­cour­aged the firstyear stu­dents to not to let go of their fears, but to, "have courage and take one step at a time. Keep do­ing so in spite of you fear and reser­va­tions.

"Per­haps most im­por­tantly, I’m ask­ing you to em­brace the light within your­selves," she said. "It may seem hard, but if you were stand­ing where I am right now, look­ing out at everyone in this room…you’d never have be­fore seen a room filled with so much light."

Sam Macdon­ald

St. F.X. pres­i­dent Kent Macdon­ald and first-year student Win­ston Karam.

Sam Macdon­ald

Tyler Ris­dale ac­cepts one of the many items that con­sti­tuted a frosh kit from Sarah Com­man­dante, a member of the O-crew.

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