At the New Student Induction, Senior Cappy Elvir, president of the Executive Board, spoke about being part of the Dominican family.
What does it mean to be a part of the Dominican family? I have had different answers to this question every year, but none has really answered this question entirely.
In 8th grade, if you had asked me this question, my answer would have been, “I don’t know, but will this be on the test?” In 9th grade, I would have answered, “Does this have to do with Mother Guihelma or Ireland?” By sophomore year, I had better answers. They were more along the lines of, “We are connected by the buildings and people on this campus.” Junior year, I would say, “The Dominicans have been around for ages, and we use their tradition to connect our class and grow closer to our friends.”
Now, I have a different answer. I would say, “The Dominican family is not only connected by the tradition that has been nurtured by numerous people for years, but also by the individuality that each student and teacher brings to our community.”
You may think that we are connected by our schedules, our worries, or our friends, but we are connected by something much more than this. We are connected, not by what is similar among us, but by what is different. We are connected by our individuality.
There is nothing that every person in this room will agree completely on, there is no one redeeming quality that everyone shares. But the fact that I think that pineapple should never ever be on a pizza, and the fact that Megan L’hoste and Ashley Patron think that it tastes like a piece of pizza with a little bit of sweetness on every bite, brings us together. The fact that I know the majority of the people here feel strongly about this issue, whether you agree or disagree, brings us together.
We may have opposing viewpoints, but our Dominican experience has taught us to listen to each other and use these issues to bring us closer, not to push us apart. Comical issues like this, or more serious ones, can sometimes distance you from the person that you are having a debate with, but it is different here. At Dominican, the issues and discussions that you have teach you more about understanding all sides of the debate, and they bring you closer to finding the truth. Dominican teaches you that you do not have to agree on everything, but that your differences can make you stronger. I am comforted by the fact that I have support from other people who agree that pineapple should never be on pizza, but I am also strengthened by the fact that there are people who are willing to challenge my opinion. Who knows, maybe one day I will learn to love the sweetness that comes with every bite that Megan and Ashley were talking about.
Although we can all agree that neither party in this argument is 100% correct; both sides hold truth in their statements. Similarly, Dominican does not show us the truth, but provides us with the tools we need to find that very truth. It has shown us, that the truth is not always black and white, although the school colors are. Sometimes the truth is changing, morphing into something new that challenges us every single day.
Whether you are in 8th grade, a new freshman, or a transfer student, a Dominican parent or a sibling, a teacher or a seasoned senior, I challenge you. Whether if you have years or months left, I challenge you to challenge yourself. Challenge yourself to anticipate change. Challenge yourself to listen to other peoples’ opinions. Challenge yourself to embrace your individuality. Challenge yourself to seek Truth.