Each semester at Northwest Catholic students who earn First Honors are congratulated with a warm breakfast. On October 24, 2019, 180 students gathered in the school’s Navin Dining Hall to be recognized. Students must achieve a 3.67 cumulative average the previous semester to be invited to the special event that includes a Northwest Catholic alumna or alumnus speaker.
After this fall’s Honors Breakfast, Northwest Catholic students enjoyed a keynote from alumnus Jesse White, a graduate of the class of 1997 and the current Principal on Assignment at Bloomfield High School. White delivered a compelling and inspiring speech.
White opened with the evocative question “what’s your story?” He went on to tell salient points of his own story, which he admitted, made him an unlikely candidate to be that morning’s keynote. White said, “Statistically, I shouldn’t be standing here.” He described the Hartford neighborhood in which he was raised and how the potentially negative impact of his surroundings were counteracted by his loving, faith-filled family who was wholly committed to education.
To help illustrate his message that humble beginnings can lead to great outcomes, White named several of his Northwest Catholic classmates from his Hartford neighborhood who are all doing exceptional work — as a doctor, a teacher, a barbershop owner, and more.
White also asked his audience on that bright October morning “what will your contributions be?” White talked about the importance of making a difference and called on scripture to help elucidate his nuggets of sage advice. He told the students to watch their thoughts, words, and actions. He told them to think about others. He told them to be part of something bigger than themselves. And, in true Northwest fashion, he told them to call him if they ever needed anything.
White’s final message about Northwest Catholic alumni answering the call, even from those they’ve never met, is a hallmark of the extraordinary Northwest Catholic community. Again and again, the message echoes with Northwest Catholic alumni — if you need something, call. Jesse White was no exception. When he invited the audience to reach out to him, you’d think he were talking to one student, not a room of 180. But at the end of his talk, when Jesse White surprised the audience with a loud “Can I have a North?” which was answered with a resounding “NORTH!” then you knew there were amidst a large, lively, and committed community.