The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


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Xavier is home: 25 years at Xavier

After 25 years of working at Xavier, Polly Fitz-Gerald, Stephanie Brugger and Kelly Fitzgerald celebrate their achievement at a Mass held in their honor. The Mass was conducted by Bishop John Dolan, where superintendent Domonic Salce awarded teachers plaques. (Photo courtesy of Tim Brugger)

This year four Xavier teachers were recognized for 25 years of service. The teachers commemorated included Anthony DiStefano, Kelly Fitzgerald, Stephanie Brugger, and Polly Fitz-Gerald. Not only have these teachers worked for the diocese for 25 years, but all of those years have been done at Xavier. 

Thirty-five Xavier teachers have been bestowed this award which was instituted in the late 80s. The ceremony is typically held at Saint Simon and Jude Cathedral, where the superintendent gives a speech and the bishop of the diocese holds a Mass. Each recipient is called up and awarded a “Christ the Teacher” plaque, to celebrate this achievement. 

What makes a person stay at Xavier for so long? Each award recipient said the same thing, “Xavier is home.”  

Stephanie Brugger who graduated from Xavier in 1990 teaches freshwomen World History. She describes Xavier as a place to make lasting relationships and a place where she has grown up a lot. She loves teaching freshwomen and enjoys seeing her students grow up at Xavier from freshwomen to senior year.  

When Brugger’s daughter had open-heart surgery Xavier supported her and her family. “They make it really easy to not just care for your own family. I feel like they are my family also,” she said. She also describes the “changing face of the Xavier girl,” and is proud of how diverse Xavier has become through the years. 

Anthony DiStefano, theology teacher and department chair, describes Xavier as a place where he feels at home. As a theology teacher, he loves teaching about his students big questions and getting them interested in their faith. 

DiStefano was not raised in the Catholic faith and converted to Christianity in his senior year of college. Not long before teaching at Xavier, he converted to Catholicism.

 Xavier helped him adapt to the faith by building relationships with other people who were serious about their faith and relationships with God. He describes Xavier as a place where, “There is always somebody to talk to, always someone to learn from, always something going on.” 

Kelly Fitzgerald, director of fitness, loves seeing the students outside the classroom, whether it be through coaching, or teaching weight training. 

He never expected to be at Xavier for 25 years and describes it as a place where many people stay for a long time. The reason he gives for people staying for so long is the community built here. 

Fitzgerald is a military veteran and is grateful that Xavier allowed him to connect with young students who are interested in joining the military. He loves the students and sharing his experiences while in the force. 

Polly Fitz-Gerald who graduated from Xavier in 1968 is the director of alumnae relations. She loves seeing how Xavier has shaped the lives of the alumnae. She believes that Xavier gives one the foundation and opportunities to succeed in whatever a graduate does. 

Fitz-Gerald started her career at Xavier as a teacher. She later left to raise her kids, who also went to Xavier. She returned as director of alumnae relations. She feels that Xavier has allowed her to make a difference in students’ lives. 

Through a supportive administration, amazing faculty and incredible community, there really is no place like Xavier. 

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