Senior Greg Wirth exudes humility, embodies Ignatian spirit
By Aakash Jain ’14 & Michael Ahearne ’14
When Greg Wirth ’13, recipient of the The Roundup’s 2013 “Man of the Year” award, was asked to detail some of his experiences at Brophy, he said, “My story’s really not that interesting.”
His peers and teachers disagree.
“If I had daughters who were in high school, Greg is a guy that I would let them date,” said Mr. Andy Schmidbauer ’88, who has known Wirth for four years. “He is humble. He is kind. He is hard-working. He honestly thinks of others first. He has played a ton of sports, yet maintained great grades.”
Wirth played baseball, basketball and football for his three years at Brophy and then cut back to just baseball and football during his senior year.
Charlie Coppola ’13 met Wirth as a freshman on the baseball and basketball teams.
“Greg’s a man of great character,” Coppola said. “If there’s someone you want on your side it is Greg Wirth. He’s just a really loyal friend. You know he’s always going to be there for you. I don’t think anyone at Brophy can say that they don’t like Greg Wirth.”
Mr. Schmidbauer said he credits the Guatemala immersion trip as an experience that opened his eyes to Wirth’s sensitive side.
“He’s just a nice kind young man,” Mr. Schmidbauer said. “The way that he jumped into the Guatemala immersion trip was amazing.”
Wirth said that the trip to Guatemala helped put his life in perspective.
“It’s a great trip,” Wirth said, when asked about the Guatemala immersion trip. “I’d recommend anyone to go on it. Just realizing how similar all those kids are to us was eye-opening. They’ve been put in such a different world. I often look back to those memories when I get caught up in the materialistic stuff around us that doesn’t really matter.”
Wirth was in Mr. Tom Danforth’s ’78 AP English 3 class during his junior year.
“Greg is a kid whose name comes up time and again from his peers,” Mr. Danforth said. “They all think that he’s the nicest guy … So many of his classmates look up to him.”
Just talk to Wirth for a couple minutes and it is evident that God plays an important role in his life.
“(Wirth is) very faithful. He’s very serious about his faith and his religion,” Mr. Danforth said. “Because of his faith, he knows that things are going to work out fine—the way they’re supposed to.”
Clarke Attaway ’13 has known Wirth since freshman year and said that he agrees that Wirth is a model for other students to aspire to be.
“I think he’s a genuinely nice guy,” he said. “He’s funny. He’s nice. He embodies everything that Brophy stands for.”
Wirth, who lives in Mesa, has to regularly make a long journey from his home to Brophy and back.
Mr. Danforth said that people often don’t realize the difficulties that students who live far from Brophy often face.
“I know Greg lives way over on the east side, practically in New Mexico,” Mr. Danforth said. “But he never offered up an excuse. He always did his work and he always did it to the best of abilities. He’s a very hard worker.”
When asked how he would like to be remembered, Wirth said, “I want people to know that God is the center of my life. I’m not perfect. I’m not there yet, but I’m trying.”
Wirth said he hopes to study engineering in college and aspires to make a positive impact when he graduates.
“I’d love to go back to the Guatemala kids and try to help them somehow,” Wirth said when asked about the future. “But I haven’t really haven’t thought about it. I hope to build on my Catholic faith and continue to work for the greater glory of God … Brophy has taught me to be myself and always seek the truth.”
According to Mr. Danforth, Wirth is as inspiration for not only students, but the entire community.
“He’s a good role model for me,” Mr. Danforth said. “In fact, he’s a good role model not just to the Brophy student body but to the faculty as well.”
Editor’s Note: Each year, The Roundup names one student “Man of the Year” because of his commitment to Brophy’s Jesuit teachings. This year’s “Man of the Year” selection process consisted of faculty nominations, senior voting and a final decision by The Roundup staff.