“Because I love you and want us to build a legacy”
Virtue Was & Is Always on My Mind…
My senior year of high school is one I can remember. St. Martin de Porres had asked our senior class to write a testament about our experience that would go down in our 2008 yearbook for future generations to see. At the time I was just an 18 year old kid from the inner city of Cleveland. I had little understanding of what was to come, but my thoughts about virtue and prosperity were clear. When I enrolled in the Cristo Rey Network of Schools, future prosperity was my expectation, but I didn’t realize being virtuous could be a constant and rewarding task.
“ I, Gary Martin leave you the last thing I ever wrote as a student and I must end it on a poetic note so my words can be remembered. It’s hard not to choke over my verbs because over the last four years our actions have all been together. We ate, we cried, we back-stabbed and we laughed. Our school days and work days consumed us and unified us as years went by. The memories of those who left our class have been the topic of discussion for some time now.
No offense to them but they missed out on what we were able to grow into, what we have strived for and achieved. Our goals in life may still be similar but their goals are not rooted in a tradition and legacy that we now control. Only we, as the class of ‘08, can start to determine what colleges and the rest of the world thinks of the education we received here. We are a core of strong men and women with strong minds and as we leave I ask that we not forget Saint Martin’s but that we pass the word about all it has. “– Gary Martin, St. Martin De Porres c/o 2008
10 years later, this quote sends chills through my body—because I meant that shit. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do after high school, or what I had to do to get it, but I had to strive for more than what was around me. I had to represent myself and the school to try and help create a legacy. Being a part of the first graduating class of a new high school was a big deal. I complained early on, but once I realized that it was out of my control, I was able to see it as a great opportunity. It was an honor to know that I’d be the first to walk a path that so many after me would follow.
Virtue and the responsibility to give back meant so much to me. By 2012, I was returning to St. Martin de Porres but this time as a college graduate and guest commencement speaker.
“Four years ago as a senior graduating from high school I stood on this stage and talked to my class about what was required of us as alumni of Saint Martin: That we had to go to our various institutions and walks of life representing Saint Martin in the right way by carrying with us the motto we all know too well, the motto that was carried in on stakes to today’s graduation: work, study, serve, lead, pray. Class of 2012, you have the same responsibility I had and continue to have, which is to uphold the integrity of Saint Martin by representing yourselves and your families and by following that motto which is a blueprint on how to live life.
What my peers and I could not talk about four years ago was what we were about to get ourselves into. The reason I called Ms. Vogel last year was because I knew I owed it to you guys to tell you exactly what is to come and offer some ways to handle what could lie ahead. “ – Gary Martin, 2012, Commencement Speech Transcripts
Now in 2018, my goal is to share my experience and the experiences of others to prepare you for what’s to come. Through life experiences, both good and bad I’ve always believed that my purpose was to bring back what I’ve learned to students at St. Martin de Porres, Alumni, and the Cristo Rey Network. I will never stop trying or listening to what you have to say. I hope that as you listen to the stories on our podcast and read our conversational blogs on Sirculate, we inspire you to think of the kind of person you want to become.
No matter who that person is, our goal to provide you with resources from people who have done what you hope to do. Most of all, I hope Sirculate can be a beacon that pushes you to also believe that you have the responsibility to become your best self and create a legacy of your very own. As students of the Cristo Rey Network, we received an opportunity not many received especially in the city of Cleveland. We owe it to ourselves to be virtuous.
So what is the origin of virtue…what does it mean to be virtuous? Simply put, virtue is moral excellence or behavior showing high moral standards. Doing what’s right. During my deep dive into philosophy and stoicism I
decided to zero in on the deeper meaning of virtue. I came across this article that describes its meaning so eloquently that it would be a shame for me to paraphrase it. To dive into its deeper meaning, check out the article here.
Now that you’ve done your research, it may be clear why the Sirculate principles start with Virtue: Life is more than the idea of prosperity and being rich. Ironically enough Virtue is what inspired a podcast featuring none other than Rich Clark. He doesn’t own a fancy business, but I believe he is still rich because of what he created, who he helped, and the thousands of lives he has changed throughout his career. So many other people like him are associated with St. Martin and the Cristo Rey Network and their stories, lessons and resources need to be heard.
The concept of virtue is not about whether or not Sirculate can help you decide if you should go to college versus starting a business. Sircurate is about the journey of becoming your best self and the journey of defining who that person is.
Sirculate: /’ˈsərkyəˌlāt/ verb/noun
1. A solemn decision to apply the (5) Principles of the Sirculate philosophy in your everyday life.
2. A holistic system of ideas and resources designed to inspire and support young adults in their transition from students to well-rounded and ambitious professionals.
The (5) Sirculate Principles are:
1. Be Virtuous: Remain virtuous in all things to become the best representation of yourself!
2. Keep an Open Mind: Approach new ideas, points of view, cultures, and ways of life with intrigue and empathy!
3. Practice Independent Thinking: Be proactive in seeking new opportunities to grow physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally!
4. Be Bold: As you seek new experiences, build upon your point of view and proactively put forth your new ideas!
5. Persevere: Be confident in who you are becoming and not weighed down by who you are or have been. Fight through mistakes, hardships, and face fear. Live your truth and keep going!
Through applying these principles you will be able to tackle many decisions and life transitions. Learn how to carry out these principles through interactive blogs and podcasts led by successful professionals and students who have already begun practicing the most effective elements of the Sirculate philosophy. Thank you for listening and I will be back soon on the importance of having an open mind