Photo by Hunter Franklin ’19 | Sebastien Ribakare ’18 (right) converses with a fellow student outside of the Brophy Student Activity Center.
By Matthew Zacher ’18
It is easier to list what Sebastien Ribakare ’18 is not involved in than to say what he is, but his friends and teachers say Ribakare’s disdain for the spotlight is what makes him most honorable.
Despite being involved in Big Brothers, Student Council, Black Student Union, immersion trips, leading a Kairos retreat and speaking at the 2018 Power Breakfast, Mr. Tony Oldani said Ribakare maintains a remarkable level of humility.
“The most important thing about Sebass that I have learned to appreciate over the last seven years with him centers on his humility,” Mr. Oldani said. “100 different lights are cast his way every day, and yet through all of it, he deflects the attention. In doing that, it almost raises him even higher.”
Mr. Oldani said Ribakare is incredibly intuitive and has the ability to get along with any group of people.
“He can walk into various groups and immediately ingratiate himself with those groups despite any differences that may exist, whether they are guys who are athletes or guys who are in all the AP classes or guys who are quiet,” Mr. Oldani said. “That was really a blessing working with him in a small group on Kairos, the way he could relate almost immediately to everybody in that group.”
Christian Kirkland ’18 has known Ribakare throughout his four years at Brophy.
“He is one of the few guys I actually trust,” Kirkland said. “He is one of the few guys in our class who is like a complete dude.”
Kirkland said he shared a special bond with Ribakare on Kairos, and that has elevated their friendship this year.
Kirkland also spoke to Ribakare’s humility, saying he hardly knows about his friend’s accomplishments.
“He never talks about what he accomplishes,” Kirkland said. “When he won distinguished student, he never talked about it. He just went up there [to Principal Mr. Bob Ryan’s office] and came back with his little treats and gave us cookies.”
When Ribakare found out he was a finalist for Man of the Year, he said he was honored to be respected by his peers.
Ribakare said that immersion trips to Skid Row and El Salvador have been some of the most transformative experiences during his time at Brophy.
Ribakare was the student speaker at this year’s Power Breakfast, and he said this represented an opportunity to help people first and foremost.
“It felt good to know that my speech could be helping kids who knows how many years down the line,” Ribakare said. “That is really something meaningful to me.”
Mr. Oldani said he asked Ribakare to speak at the Power Breakfast, and that Ribakare overcame his initial hesitation out of his desire to always help other people.
“That kid will do anything to help others,” Mr. Oldani said. “Even when it is not the thing he wants to do and he is totally uncomfortable with it.”
Ribakare is part of the first graduating class from Loyola Academy, and Mr. Oldani said that, while that is just a little part of who Sebastien is, he is certainly a role model for the Loyola students.
“He represents a full, well-rounded Brophy kid that you want in a really engaging, charismatic and authentic package,” Mr. Oldani said.
Kirkland said that Ribakare is the best role model for any student on campus.
“I know he works hard in his school, and he is just nice,” he said. “I think if all of the kids coming out of eighth grade and Loyola Academy got to shadow Sebastien for a day, they could really see what you are meant to do when you come to Brophy and what kind of person you are supposed to be when you are a senior.”