Salutatorian full name: Benjamin Lawrence FitzGerald
Parents’ names: Shannon and Rob FitzGerald
University attending: University of Notre Dame
Extra-curricular activities, sports and non-sports, and special honors: Student Counsel Treasurer, Genesis Woman’s Shelter Teen Board, Academic Quiz Bowl, Young Men’s Service League, Rosary Club, Big Brothers, Eagle Scout, Lector, Junior Patron’s Guild, Service Trip to Zimbabwe, Football, Track and Field, St. Bernard Gold Award, Cum Laude Society, National AP Scholar
Best advice given to him and by whom: “Be interested and interesting. Try to imitate Christ every day.” – Fr. Augustine Hoelke
Ever since our beginning days in First Form, our class has easily bonded because of our common need to cope with the burden of school work and our healthy desire to create numerous inside jokes. However, these bonds weren’t limited to the classroom. As we matured and began to experience the outside world, from the death of Osama bin Laden to the 2012 presidential election, we brought what we had read and watched back to school. Our teachers encouraged us to think about these experiences and tried to help us learn something from them. The combination of a close relationship with our classmates and our teachers allowed a unique crossover to develop between our schoolwork and the real world.
During our senior year, our interactions with and discussions about the outside world, reached their pinnacle. Most of us turned 18 this year, and having personal opinions for the political decisions of our country suddenly became very important. As our form’s tendency towards discussion of political topics moved into the classroom, we debated many things, from methods of constitutional interpretation to the role of the federal government in our lives. In the end, regardless of what side of an issue we ended up on, our close relationships with each other forced us to listen to, recognize, and consider our classmates’ opposing points of view. We’ve grown to understand that by truly listening to each other, we can learn something that alters or strengthens our own perspective and if nothing else, can give us a better understanding of where the other is coming from. The deeper bonds that Cistercian students have with their teachers and classmates, emphasize these personal and then shared experiences. This educational process has led us to the formation of unwavering and hopefully, lifelong friendships; and for this, we will be forever grateful.