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Students in graduation

PASSING THE TORCH: FOUR FATHERS FROM CLASS OF ’98 REPRESENTED BY SONS IN EACH GRADE OF THE PREP DIVISION

July 21, 2020

There are lots of firsts at The Hive these days. Recently, Director of Technology Dexter Lopina ’98 pointed out that we currently have young men in each grade of the Prep Division whose fathers are from the Class of ’98.

Lopina wasn’t sure whether it’s been done before, but Fr. Edwin believes it has never happened.

“The biggest confirmation for me that shows what we are doing here works is when guys come back and introduce me to their kids,” said Fr. Edwin. “The fact that they are now sending their kids to school here is like a dream.”

  The Lopinas (left) and Comesanas (right)

Lopina realized last year that this could potentially happen. He was picking up mail in the lobby when someone called his name. It was Andy Desormes, a classmate he had not seen since graduation. They hugged and started to catch up. Desormes told him that his stepson, Gabriel Martinez, was a freshman.

Lopina also realized that his other classmates, Matt Brady and Mark Comesanas, also have sent their sons to The Hive. Lopina, however, didn’t think much more of it because his son, Ethan, was not yet a student.

But when Virtual Convocation started soon after the pandemic hit, Lopina noticed that Comesanas had checked into one of first community gatherings. Ethan Brady ’21 was one of the early student presenters in May and Desormes had joined one of the last Convos to close out the academic year. And now, Ethan Lopina ‘24 was attending Virtual Convocation as part of the incoming freshman program.

When one of the student leaders announcing alumni – as they do at each Convo – read out,  “and now from the Class of ‘98, Andy Desormes,” Lopina recalled the memory from the lobby last year and realized, “All our sons were in Convo at the same time.”

The classmates from ’98 all have strong feelings about St. Benedict’s and were clear that they wanted their sons to have the experience they had. Matt Brady wanted Ethan to have the education outside the classroom that had meant so much to him.

 The Desormes (left) and Bradys (right)

“Being held accountable not just for yourself, but for your brothers left and right of you,” explained Matt Brady. “It was important for me to have Ethan challenged mentally, physically and spiritually.”

Desormes said he treasured his Benedict’s experience and it would be “wrong not to give Gabriel the chance to experience the same.”

“Benedict’s helped build upon the foundation my father had established in my life through the principles of hard work, resilience and, most of all, faith in God,” Comesanas said. “That’s what I want for my son Jordan (Class of ’22) and his little brother Jacob, who will be at St. Benedict’s in two years.”

Lopina is not sure that his classmates are aware that their class is represented in each grade of the Boys Prep. But he has ideas for the future, saying, “I definitely want to use this fun fact to get a mini ‘98 in-person reunion when this pandemic is behind us.”

Fr. Edwin is elated that fathers who went to SBP  are now sending their children to The Hive.

“What happened here to a lot of guys means enough for them that they want to pass it along to their kids – you can’t beat that.”

--By Noreen Connolly H'11