By Nolan Navarrete ‘24

This school year has been filled with memories and new friends, but it is quickly coming to an end. It felt like yesterday we were taking school ID pictures before a summer football practice in 2020, and now we are graduating. Time flies when you are having fun, and the word “fun” is a great way to describe my senior year.

The summer was football and counseling the boys camp at Brother Rice. All day. Every day. All day long. Joe Lombardo and I would watch film every lunch break to get better for the next practice. Joe, one of my best friends, pushed me every day to be my best on and off the field.

Spending time with all of these Crusaders during practice somehow never got old. I made so many new friends from football and cherish the bonds that I have built to last a lifetime.

The end of the season came along. It was really tough losing so early, but injuries happened and uncontrollable things hurt our team very badly. Still, the brotherhood with my teammates never left, even after the season.

Winter time was the best time of my senior year. I led a Kairos with three of my already best friends – Rudy Perez, Charlie Boyer, and Robbie Rutledge. But the joy in it all was becoming such great friends with fellow leaders Mikey Horan and Dom Pettenon. We spent the whole month of November preparing to give these candidates the best time. I truly never realized how much that brought me closer to these friends.

As the winter kept progressing, I still kept my same great friends around me. The friendships I built from this year and past years stuck with me as the weekend was always something I could look forward to. Brother Rice has put all of these people in my life, and I will be forever grateful for that.

Even though the winter was full of going out and watching games with my buddies, the grind still did not stop. The baseball team and I were in the weight room and at practice week in and week out, preparing for the upcoming season. The 6 a.m. workouts with Coach Cano seemingly never got old. These workouts got me in better shape and installed a work ethic into my everyday routine. I will never forget all the great times in that weight room.

The season came along and we started off unusually slow. But, the best thing we did was never quit. We are now in the middle of a CCL Blue championship run, and all the opportunities are ahead of us. We have found a groove and are going to be a deadly team come postseason time.

On top of all the sports was where I spent my most time, the classroom. Mr. Dolan’s class always kept me eager to learn and his humor gave me a lot of good laughs. Mr. Augustyn’s theology class was filled with a lot of my best friends.

Seamus Hanley and Mac Murzyn would never fail to make me laugh during my time at Rice. Joey Lombardo and Chris Daugherty pushed me to be the best athlete I could be. Finally, Mr. Creed and Mr. Swynenberg taught me lessons that I will bring with me into the real world. These guys are the epitome of the kind of people Brother Rice’s environment is filled with.

Some advice I would give to the underclassmen is to just live in the moment. In this society, we get too caught up in what can or can’t happen. Be yourself and always stay true to what you love, because changing for someone else’s purpose is a waste of your own gifts and talents.

My time on 99th Street has formed a young man ready to strive in the real world. I will always go back to the dorm, back to Palos for the summer, and in the future, open the door to my own house, but I will never be able to sit at that Brother Rice desk again. But one thing I can do is carry on the tradition, and always say that I am one proud Crusader.