Justin John Frere
What do you like most about Brophy? What do you like least about it?
If you walk onto campus at Brophy and ask this same question (“What do you like most about Brophy?”) to any student, you will likely receive the answer that I am about to give you: the brotherhood. Brophy, more than any other school that I have seen, is a true community. Everybody knows everybody, everybody is friends with everybody, and everybody accepts everybody. This kind of brotherhood creates a unique atmosphere at Brophy that is relaxed, friendly, and accepting; it makes Brophy a really cool place to be.
As for what I like least about Brophy—that’s a hard one. Brophy is really a great place. I guess that one of the things that I like least about Brophy is one of the reasons that I love Brophy: the rigorous academics. Brophy has great academics, but unfortunately, that equates to a lot of hard work in terms of homework and study time. Like I said earlier, this means that I get a great education, but no kid likes homework.
Who is your favorite teacher and what is your favorite subject?
I have always loved science, and this year, my AP Biology and AP Psychology classes have been incredible. Both of my teachers in these classes are well versed and make the classes the best they can possibly be. Mrs. Cheryl Lenox, my biology teacher, is one of the smartest people I know, and her ability to convey that knowledge to the class is incredible. In addition to her awesome communication skills, she keeps the class involved with interesting labs and pertinent discussions. Mr. Matt Williams, my psychology teacher, is one of the most creative and dedicated teachers I have had the pleasure of learning from. It seems that at least once a week our class is doing a fun and inclusive activity to illustrate a psychological concept. For example, during our unit on hypnosis, Mr. Williams did a class-wide hypnosis session to explain the concept. In addition to these activities, Mr. Williams is always finding videos and neat demonstrations that can be shown to the class to help illustrate material.
How did you hear about Brophy?
Honestly, I’m not sure how I came to hear about Brophy. Growing up, I went to a Catholic school, so I always kind of knew about Brophy and the other Catholic schools in the area.
How has Brophy changed your life?
Brophy has had a huge impact on my life. Besides simply providing me with an excellent education, Brophy has taught me to think outside of the box and to consider world issues. Looking back on it, I realize that before coming to Brophy, I was pretty much blind to the issues of the world, but now, after only three years at Brophy, I realize that I have been challenged to see, understand, and provide solutions for world problems, especially relating to social justice.
What did/does your family think about Brophy?
My family has always had the highest opinion of Brophy. In fact, they were the ones that pushed me to go there. Now, after seeing my academic success and the values that this place has instilled in me, they think nothing but the best of it.
What would you tell other boys who are interested in Brophy?
The first thing I would tell them would be to go to Brophy. Brophy is an awesome place, and it has formed me into the person I am today. My decision to attend this school is likely the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, and so, I would strongly encourage them to attend. After this, I would tell any kids that are interested in coming to Brophy to shadow and attend Open House. Shadowing days are incredibly important, as kids who are interested in Brophy will really get the chance to experience what Brophy is about as a shadow. My shadow day was the thing that really convinced me to go to Brophy.
Do you have a favorite memory of Brophy?
This is hard—I have had so many experiences at Brophy that it’s hard to pick out a favorite. Of the many that come to mind, however, one really stands out. This past year, I attended a retreat for Brophy Big Brothers (seniors and juniors who volunteer to take incoming freshmen under their wing and be mentors to them, helping to aid their transition from middle to high school). During the retreat, there was a small prayer service, and during that prayer service, there was a “sign of peace” which is a regular part of the Catholic mass where people shake hands and wish peace upon others around them, saying, “Peace be with you.” However, instead of simply shaking hands, all of the Big Brothers spent nearly ten minutes milling around the Brophy chapel embracing each and every one of their fellow Big Brothers and really wishing peace to all of them, Catholic or not. It seems strange talking about this now, but the experience was one of those rare moments where the brotherhood of Brophy was really palpable for me. It was a rare moment in life where I felt totally accepted by everybody around me, and it felt like that was what Brophy was all about.
What will you miss most about Brophy?
I’m going to miss pretty much everything. I’m going to miss the brotherhood, the supportive community, the friends, the challenge, the academics, the crazy shenanigans that seem to randomly occur around campus, the competition, the football games, the intramural games, the retreats, the teachers, and countless others.
What college or university do you plan to attend?
Right now, I am definitely undecided. Stanford is my dream school, but admission and costs are huge issues. I am also considering University of Arizona, Washington University in Saint Louis, University of Washington, Creighton University, and Duke to name a few.
What are your plans for the future?
In the future, I wish to become a doctor. Some fields that seem interesting are cardiology and neurology, and so I will definitely consider a specialization in these areas.
What do you think Brophy has already done for you?
Brophy has done tons of things for me. First and foremost, it has made me who I am today. Brophy has instilled me with intellectual curiosity, openness to new situations and opportunities, a deeper faith, a commitment to understanding world issues, a drive to solve those issues, and a key system of moral values. Brophy has not only stirred this personal development, however, but rather, it has also pushed me to use the skills that I have been taught to better my community. Through countless service projects and a commitment to community involvement, Brophy has pushed me to be a better, more involved person, and this has allowed me to see how I can use my skills to better my surrounding community and live my faith through service to others.