Mr. Broderick's Blog
You found my blog! Now you can truly be at peace and begin your journey to enlightenment. My name is Tim Broderick and I graduated from St. John's in 2005. I went to Boston College and then came back to the Prep immediately. It's like I never left high school. This is my fifth year teaching history and computer science. I also coach sports that begin with letter S - soccer, skiing and sailing. I hope you enjoy the blog, but I know you already feel better just from my intro. Enlightenment is within reach. See you around campus and go make it a great day.
Below is Usain Bolt of Jamaica crossing the finish line in first place at the 2012 Olympics in the men's 100 meter final. Bolt is nototrious for being slow out of the starting blocks and often does not take the lead until about halfway into the race. In this race, Bolt was losing at 50m to Justin Gatlin of the USA (#6 in red below). It is important to take a lesson from this as we are also approaching the end of our school year, our race. Regardless of how this year has gone for you--whether you had a rough start and struggled to get your footing or you started off strong and have since petered out--we all see the finish is now close. How we finish is up to us. In two weeks, less than two weeks for some, we will be enjoying the summer and hopefully looking back at the year happy with the effort we put in. When I was on Boston College's crew team we always used to say: "You can do anything for one more minute." And it is true, you can always keep moving for one more minute, or in this case, one week and a couple days. So I encourage you all to make the most of the last few days of school and finish up strong. It will make for a more enjoyable and fulfilling summer.
Mr. Lynch, German teacher, Yearbook moderator and good friend, has been hounding faculty members to turn in our yearbook quotes for this year's book. Being a big John Wooden fan I stumbled across a few quotes of his that mean a lot to me and I thought I would share them with you. For those who don't know John Wooden, he coached the UCLA Bruins basketball team from 1948-1975 and in that time period won 10 national championships, 7 of them in a row. He coached greats Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul Jabar (pictured below) and is revered as one of the greatest coaches in the history of sport. He is most well known for being a teacher who never raised his voice, never mentioned the word winning in his 30+ years of coaching and was more interested in shaping his players into good people than basketball stars. I think he would have been a good fit at the Prep, in fact I think there are many people here similar to him. Enjoy the quotes, I think you will like them.
Wooden with two of the best basketball players in NBA and college history, Kareem Abdul Jabar and Bill Walton.
John Wooden began his coaching career at the high school level. He coached high school ball for 11 years while also teaching English.
So, on Monday February 13, 2012, I wrote a blog entry (more than 2 years ago!) which featured the picture below of a shoe hanging in a tree next to the cafeteria.
The blog post was called "Shoe in tree" and to date that is the post I get the most comments on. Feel free to go back into the old archives down at the bottom of the page and check it out. Anyway, since that day, and in the days after the shoe disappeared from the tree, I have always wondered how the shoe got there and who was the mystery person who owned the shoe. In what I must call a pretty amazing moment, this year, at the conclusion of a ski meet, a student named Sean McNamee, a member of the team, told me that it was actually his shoe that had been stuck in the tree that day. I told him I could not believe it and that he must bring the shoe in and show me. He said of course, not a problem. The following day Sean came into my classroom with two shoes, both on his feet, and of course I recognized the shoe and its partner shoe right away.
It was the shoe in the tree, no doubt about it. So, I asked him to tell me how one, as it had been only one shoe that had been in the tree that day, had ended up there and how he had reunited them. The interesting part of this story is that Sean did not seem to know how the shoe had gotten into the tree. Understandable. I know people who lose their shoes in trees and forget how they got there. I questioned him a little further. What do you mean you don't know how your shoe got off your foot and into the tree? He did not know. All he remembered was going to class for the remainder of that day with one shoe on hoping his teachers wouldn't notice. It was like a case of amnesia. How did you get the shoe back? He did remember getting it back. He was walking down the pathway between classes when a friend approached him and said "Hey Sean, here is your shoe. I found it in that tree," as he pointed to the tree next to the caf. End of story. Unsolved mysteries. Anyway, here are the shoes today. Firmly on Sean's feet and reunited at last. Not all strange occurences have explanations. Sean, thank you for being a good sport and letting me post this follow up story. Good stuff.
Winter is on its way out. Well I thought it was until I woke up today and it was 20 degrees outside. That in conjunction with a new round of weather reports that say we are supposed to get more snow this week leaves me unsure if winter really is leaving or if it will hang around a bit longer. Either way, the winter sports seasons are in fact coming to a close. The ski team (below) wrapped up our season last Tuesday with a 2nd place finish at the state championship. The guys did a great job, coming in 2nd for the third year in a row, a pretty impressive accomplishment and a great demonstration of consistency. In the picture below the guys are all flashing the number 2 around the trophy so we have embraced how difficult it is to be one of the top two teams in the state for the last three years. A great group of positive and happy kids
With the change of season brings new sports and sailing is next on my docket. I would like to shed some light on people's misconceptions about how sailing is all just sitting in the sun and getting a tan! You have to look closely because the picture is small but there is snow on the banks of that lake! So yes, for a while Mr. Mackinson and I will be freezing on Lake Quanapowitt in Wakefield. I know, I know, boo hoo Mr. Broderick. Anyway, congrats to all the winter sports teams on another great year and good luck to all the spring athletes. Let's hope the winter starts to get out of town.
It never gets old. There is something magical about a phone call from St. John's Prep the night before a big snow storm. One of the best parts about it is that it is unplanned. You have not had time to schedule anything to occur on your snow day. In that sense it is much different and even more enjoyable than a weekend. There is nothing waiting for you that you have to do because you are really supposed to be at school. So it is a day where you really have no commitments and can just relax. As I walked around my house today I shot a few pictures of the snow falling outside and thought I would share what the storm looked like way up on the northern North Shore. See you all in school tomorrow.
This is a ski team gift from a few years back. A chair made entirely of skis right at home in the snow.
Just a tree looking good in the snow. I promise you this tree looks much better like this than it does when it is not covered in the white fluffy stuff.
This is a bird house which I have yet to see a bird actually call home but it looks like a cozy place to hang out.
At the end of every robotics class Brother Bob teaches each semester, there is a final culminating event - The Battle of the Bots. Each student who has been working on making a robot for the final project of the semester knows that during the last few days of the class, their robot will face off against the others to see who has created the strongest machine. Here are some pictures from the event.
In the picture above, two robots battle inside the blue circle. In the early stages of the competitions, the goal is to force the opposing robot outside of the blue area. As the competition goes on, a smaller and smaller sized area is used. For example, at the end of the competition, the two strongest robots will face off and the first to force the other outside of a 3x3 tiled area will be the winner. Even Mr. Marinelli (above right) came down to watch the excitement.
Two bots battle it out above.
The robots are controlled by remote controls the students can use either wirlessly (student on the right) or with a wired connection (left). Unfortunately, my camera died just as the class was ready to decide the winner so I missed out on a picture of the winning bot and its creator! I was bummed about that but I must say that all the robots looked pretty impressive. Good work guys.
In 2004, Cathy Carroll, who works in the main office at St. John's and is in her 10th year at the Prep, was attending a St. John's Prep football game at Peabody High School watching her son play for the Prep football team. While watching the game, and I imagine this is common in Cathy's life as I have rarely seen her without her knitting needles, she was knitting a sweater. Also watching the game and standing next to her was a Xaverian brother named Phil White who had made the trip from the Xaverian brother's house on the St. John's Prep campus to support the team. Brother Phil noticed Cathy's knitting, leaned toward her and said, "I'm a size large." From this small moment Cathy began what is now called the Advent Angel. Each year at the beginning of December Cathy sets up a tree inside the Benjamin Hall Main Office which is decorated with small cards that each have a gift which a brother living in Xaverian House at the Prep has asked for this Christmas. The goal is for each brother (24 in all) to be remembered and thought of during the Christmas season. And thanks to Cathy, thought of they are! In support of the brothers and Advent Angel, Ms. Malone, a teacher in the Fine Arts department at the Prep, and her students designed and signed the cards shown below which will be given to the brothers with their gifts.
In addition to the individual gifts asked for on the tree, each brother will receive a campus gift made by Cathy, Joan Webb and Maureen Ward of the Principal's office. The gathering to give the brothers their gifts is Thursday December 19th in the brother's house on Spring Street where their will be music provided by the Travel Choir and LUNA as well as cookies and other snacks. This is a great tradition to give to the brothers who have spent most of their lives giving of themselves. For most of the brothers, they grew up in other states and have families and friends that are too far away to see during the holidays so this does a lot to lift their spirits. As Cathy said while I was walking out of her office yesterday, "If you were a Xaverian Brother who lived in Kentucky all your life and now you are living in this faraway town of Danvers, Massachusetts, who is going to buy you a present on Christmas?" Well, I think Cathy has done a pretty amazing job of making sure the brothers at Xaverian House are remembered. They are an integral part of what goes on here at St. John's and this tradition to remember them is an important one.
The freshman retreat happened last Friday. Six churches throughout the North Shore hosted groups of freshman students, sophomore group leaders and a few faculty members for the day. I still remember my own freshman retreat and as a teacher have gone on the retreat every year. The goal is for the freshman to reflect on how the first quarter of the year has gone and to make some new friends in the freshman class. Mr. Lovett, a Religious Studies teacher and coach here at the Prep, was the leader of the retreat group I was with and did a great job making sure all went smoothly. Here are some pictures!
Some of the guys saying hello.
The other half giving a wave.
Getting to know each other.
Quite a crew.
Why so serious?! I believe Griffin (right) was trying to fill out that worksheet but couldn't keep up with Mike (left) filling in the blanks.
Scavenger hunt. Trying to find people who match the categories on the sheet.
Wrapping up the day and having a good time.
Yesterday the Entrepreneur Club was lucky enough to have two distinguished guests come and speak. Elliot Katzman and Mike Shanahan, both venture capitalists and members of the Board of Trustees at St. John's, came and imparted some wisdom onto the future entrepreneurs of the world. They touched on many interesting points. One of which was the importance of a good idea combined with an impressive person behind it. They discussed how as venture capitalists they look at over 2,000 business ideas a year and choose one or two to invest their time and money in. They emphasized that a lot of what makes a business plan or idea stand out is not just the idea itself but what traits, characteristics and personality the person who has come up with the idea has. Another interesting point they discussed was what the first step an entrepreneur should take once they have an idea they want to go forward with. Their advice was awesome! Just do something! Do not do nothing! Get out there and get in touch with people who could help you, find an expert, do research on the market, anything to become more informed and more proactive. Loved it. I think at one point Mr. Katzman even said, "Well, if you do nothing, you know nothing is going to happen." Right up my alley. Here are some photos of the day.
Elliot Katzman (left) and Mike Shanahan (right) answer questions from the club.
Choose groups to clone to: