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.
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.
So perhaps I have gotten a bit too slow and taken too much of my own advice. So many things have happened since the last time I talked to you that I owe you a solid post on at least a few of them. The major events have been the student activities fair and the first Prep dance. Both happened last week so I am a week behind schedule but hey, like I said last time, slowing down is a good thing. What's that proverb? Be not afraid of moving slowly, be only afraid of standing still. That's my mantra. I think pictures are the best way to show you what really happens at these events so take a look. I think I depicted things pretty accurately.
Reid Levick looking very proud representing the Robotics Team.
Reid seconds later fending off intruders who are trying to get some free publicity. That looks to be the Philosphy Club. I will have to discuss this with Mr. Roche. This does not seem very philosophical.
The Engineering Club is going to build a boat (rumors). Here are the possible plans.
Look at all the chess pieces scattered across the board! Ralph, this is not Jenga.
Ah, the Entrepreneur Club. Great kids and look how prepared they are.
The Spanish Club with posters covered in food and empty bottles. What the heck.
This is my favorite picture.
Sports Science Club. That USA Olympic banner is signed by an Olympic medalist, though I forget who.
Model UN. Very serious.
Switching gears to the Prep dance. This is the calm before the storm. So peaceful looking isn't it? Like you almost would not mind being there. Oh how things change.
So, these are the student council members in charge of the dance. I don't know how to feel about this.
Very glad I was on the otuside looking in.
Again, the people in charge.
Mr. Wyrwa having a blast. But the Giants??? Come on we are in Patriots Nation!
A freshman student ran into my classroom yesterday after school. He was out of breath and looking for a jacket and a binder he had left somewhere on campus in one of his classrooms and was trying to figure out where it was. He had practice to be at by 3 o'clock and he still had not gone to his locker to get his books to take home. He was also sharing a locker with another student in the gym because he had lost his combination the previous day and could not remember it so he had to make sure to meet him there or he would not have his practice stuff. I vividly remember being a freshman and having a very similiar experience the first few weeks here. It was a whirlwind where everything seemed to be happening very fast and there was no way to be anything but tired and out of breath. I remember one experience clearly. I was walking across campus between Benjamin and Xavier Hall and it was scorching hot. I had a backpack and my soccer bag slung over my shoulder and books in my hand that would not fit into my stuffed backpack. And I dropped them all on the ground. So I was dripping sweat onto the asphalt as hundreds of kids hurried by me to class while I tried to pick my books up. I got to class late, sweating, out of breath and generally confused. But I survived it and so will the boy who reminded me a lot of my former self. Before he left I stopped him, had him take a few deep breaths and told him to just relax and slow down. Practice isn't going anywhere. I asked him if he was OK. He said yes and then immediately booked it out of the room, backpack bouncing looking like it was going to topple him over. But he had to get to practice on time. I would have done the same thing when I was a freshman. Some things need to be learned on our own. Slowing down is sometimes very hard to do.
The school year has begun! Yesterday was the first day of classes here at the Prep. I feel like it was only a few seconds ago I was writing about the freedom of summer. The wind in your face. The open road. All good things must come to an end. And fortunately all of us here are blessed to have St. John's to come back to. I snapped a few photos yesterday of the opening Freshman Convocation, where the incoming freshman class was welcomed to the school by the faculty and upper classmen. The ceremony starts with a walk from the auditorium to the gym, a walk that is almost the exact reverse of the walk they will take as seniors on the day of their graduation. Here are some pictures!
The freshman class waiting for the day to start in the auditorium.
The walk across campus.
The upper classmen welcoming the freshman as they enter the gym.
Beautiful day. What a great place to be.
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