Photo Courtesy of Tribune News Service | President Donald Trump greets Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson.
By Anthony Cardellini ’17
The three days after November’s presidential election involved tears, celebrations and a much-discussed speech from Principal Mr. Bob Ryan at the Jesuit martyrs prayer service on Nov. 10.
Mr. Ryan opened the annual prayer service with a reflection on the election results.
“I wanted to name what I felt was the big elephant in the room for most people and also I felt it was a very fitting and appropriate segue into the prayer service,” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan said he thought he underestimated the extent to which that would draw follow-up emails and phone calls.
He said he received both positive and negative messages from students and parents.
A few days after the speech, Mr. Ryan wrote a letter to the parents of the school.
“It became clear to me that what I said wasn’t what people heard, and it certainly wasn’t what had been relayed to parents,” he said. “It also became more and more clear to me as the week went on that the resultant issues from the election in the campaign weren’t going away, and I felt it necessary to name some of those things and make clear our stance as a school regarding them.”
He said his speech before the prayer service was directed at the students, and not intended to be a partisan attack.
He said that he has been pleased with students’ responses to the election.
“What I have been most edified by is the number of responses that have sprung up that have been student-led and student-initiated,” he said. “I’ve been really proud of how the students have responded.”
Juan Carlos Lopez ’17, a founding member of the Brophy Culture Project, said that these initiatives include Hermanos Unidos meetings, Black Student Union meetings, Brophy Culture Project presentations and a Wrangler editorial.
He said the day immediately after the election was extremely difficult.
“I heard many students being called derogatory names, just hateful words being said to them,” he said.
He said the biggest problem was people not being aware of all sides of issues.
“That’s what the campus lacked on Wednesday: awareness,” he said. “These kids weren’t aware, like kids wearing Trump hats: Are you guys not aware that half of campus is starting to become diversified?”
However, he said that things have gotten better as the weeks have progressed.
“We’re starting to go back toward that compassion to others,” he said.
“People care about each other here at Brophy, and it’s apparent, it’s overtly clear that everyone cares about each other,” he said. “That vision was sort of fogged Wednesday morning, but it definitely became clear and more solidified as the weeks came.”
Mr. Ryan said he hopes the election cycle does not discourage students from being interested in politics.
“I hope you guys, when you think about what your lives can be about, that you don’t rule out public life,” he said. “The future of our democracy depends on folks in your generation and my generation being willing to invest in it. I hope that your experience in this election doesn’t cause you to move away or turn your back on it but to invest more deeply into it.”