By Michael Badke ‘21

My time at Brother Rice has been up, down, mediocre, and amazing all at the same time, but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. There is nothing better than walking into Rice and being a Crusader. From being in class with all your friends, to the Friday night lights and the fun times on the weekend; you truly feel like you’re part of a family.

I grew up dreaming about coming to Brother Rice from going to all the camps and football games. When I was little, I really thought the Rice kids were superstars and looked up to them like the Chicago Bears; they were all my role models and I wanted to be just like them.

When I walked into the doors my freshman year I was just so excited to be here. I wasn’t nervous and maybe even felt a little too comfortable because I grew up at Rice.  I knew I was going to have a great 4 years.

That is exactly what happened. I had the best 4 years of my life. I created friendships for a lifetime but, don’t get me wrong, sometimes it was really hard and not so fun; still, I think that is okay.

My sophomore year I tore my ACL (the first time) during football season and that road back to recovery was very hard and demanding, but it truly made me who I am today. Sometimes the hardest things you do in life make you who you are and the character you develop. But the support from my school, teammates, classmates, teachers, and coaches is what makes this place special.

Brother Rice truly did build my character and shape me into who I am today. I couldn’t tell you how many times I had to wake up at 5a.m. to be here for football workouts, then after school go to a JV and varsity hockey practice, do homework, and then the next day do it all over again. Looking back on it, it was really hard, but that made me disciplined and I learned how to manage my time well.

The second half of my junior year was cut short due to Covid. We had to do full remote learning and I greatly missed being at school with my friends. Yes,  it was cool doing school at home for a week, but there is nothing like being in class with all your buddies.

There was enormous uncertainty during that summer; were we going back to school? Were we going to have a football season? What was my senior year experience going to look like? These were all questions that couldn’t be answered.  Living in the unknown was often difficult mentally.

There was a lot of uncertainty about this year. I believe we made the best of our hybrid learning situation. My senior year definitely wasn’t perfect or normal, but I feel it made us realize just how special Brother Rice is. Yes, we missed out on some things like homecoming, school mass, and the Crusader Crazies, but we truly made the most out of our senior year and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

I really valued just trying to be friends with everyone this year. I  have come to understand that we are all brothers whether you are in band, the resource room, a mad scientist or a stud athlete.  We are all brothers, and what matters is not what you are, but the person inside. I learned through this crazy pandemic that you need to be appreciative of the regular, normal, everyday parts of our lives. Just a simple “hey” or “how are you doing?” can go such a long way.

I’m excited about the next chapter of my life but there is nothing like being a Brother Rice Crusader.