By Frankie Mesec ‘20

Last week, I was met with a heartwarming surprise.

Coach Prunckle said that my grammar school, St. Cletus, posted my band article on their Facebook page.

I was very surprised. I couldn’t believe that happened, and that my school took the time out to recognize me.

That shoutout made me look back on my time at St. Cletus, and how well they treated me there.

I was only at Cletus for one year. The school I went to before Cletus treated me poorly and caused one of the lowest points in my life. Usually, schools don’t take people in the middle of a trimester in the eighth-grade year, but St. Cletus welcomed me with open arms.

From the teacher to the students, everyone was very welcoming to me. It helped me get out of that low point in my life, find hope, and make friends that feel like family.

Two of the most welcoming people that soon became my best friends were JP Noga and Nate Banos. They welcomed me into their group, and we’ve been family ever since. They may not go to Rice, but they still call me up every day and try to hang at least once a week.

To express this more, I’m going to be a roommate in college with one of them.

When I asked how they felt about me joining in the middle of the trimester, Nate Banos said, “When you first came to St. Cletus, I thought that there was finally another kid like me. Someone different from all of the kids that I hated.”

In addition to welcoming me into the school well, St. Cletus helped prepare me for high school well.

St. Cletus prepared me for high school by challenging me intellectually in classes, which helped me have a leg-up in most of my high school classes. St. Cletus also taught me people skills I wouldn’t have learned in other schools.

Relating to how Cletus helped prepare us for high school, JP Noga said, “Cletus prepared me for high school in the sense of interpersonal skills that were required to deal with all types of people, especially those who didn’t want to be your friend but you were forced to deal with. Patience and kindness were key virtues that I had learned, and they served me well through the four years of high school.”

Mr. Nowakowski was my English teacher at St. Cletus, and a Brother Rice alumni. He helped me adjust to St. Cletus. From how he acts and teaches, he represents “Act Manfully in Christ Jesus” our school motto, perfectly.

He was the person who wrote the post on Facebook.

Talking about his teaching methods, Mr. Nowakowski said, “So much of my teaching methods and practices are the direct result of the teachers whom I had at Brother Rice, so, really, any student whom I’ve taught over the years would be prepared to be successful at Brother Rice.”

He also said, “The expectations that I set in terms of discipline and academic rigor are similar to what is and what have been the expectations at Brother Rice. I also hope that I was a good model of our Catholic faith. ‘Act Manfully in Christ Jesus’ was the school motto when I attended Brother Rice, and that has always meant something to me. I’ve tried to model that behavior towards my students, in particular the boys.”

He has been a big influence on me and was one of the many reasons to go to Rice. He is an active alumni, and lives his life like Edmund would have wanted. He uses Brother Rice to help others and teach kids how to be men.

People like him are the reason why St. Cletus is a great school. St. Cletus helped my adjustment to Brother Rice and made it easy to call it home. Thank you, St. Cletus, for the post and thank you for helping me be who I am today.