The show must go on

Keynote+speaker+Elena+Flores+Breese+%E2%80%9800+shows+her+Xavier+pride+after+answering+questions+from+students.+

Layla Torres/XPress photo

Keynote speaker Elena Flores Breese ‘00 shows her Xavier pride after answering questions from students.

Emma Haas, Staff Writer

Over the past few years, the Xavier community has gathered at the X Breakfast, a morning event held at Xavier, to listen to former students tell their stories. This year, though, the coronavirus pandemic transformed the way in which Xavier would continue.

With the pandemic forcing schools across the country to switch to virtual learning, Xavier traditions had to go virtual, as well.

Curtis Bruggman, who directs X Breakfast, Xavier’s largest annual on-campus event, said, “This year some things were different and some things remained the same.  The main difference, of course, was the virtual delivery.  This enabled us to reach a broader audience without geographic limitations, allowed our supporters to enjoy the event from their home or office, and provided our students the opportunity to watch X Breakfast for the first time ever.”

X Breakfast 2020 began with Sister Lynn entering an empty Founders Hall, where the event is typically held, symbolizing how different the times are.

She highlighted last year’s accomplishments, discussed how Xavier has adapted to learning and teaching during the pandemic, as well as how students will be able to participate in this upcoming sports’ season. 

Following Sister Lynn, Juliana Ramirez Daza ‘21 led X Breakfast viewers in a prayer, and the Xavier Honors Choir united attendees in singing the national anthem, while images of an empty Xavier College Preparatory were shown. Xavier’s Spiritline lightened the mood by performing a skillful routine, with all performers donning face masks.

Following the performance, the X Breakfast co-chairs, Matt Campisi and Lygia Harkins ‘94, delivered brief speeches. Campisi thanked local businesses for donations, while Harkins welcomed this year’s keynote speaker, Elena Flores Breese, who graduated from Xavier in 2000.

Breese shared with the Xavier community her experience as a survivor of  the Boston Marathon bombing. “All these images were time- stamped in my heart, and in my mind, and have greatly influenced the last seven years of my life,” Breese said of the horrifying events from the Spring of 2013.

She discussed how she overcame her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which had quickly disabled her, ultimately causing her to enter a psychiatric hospital in 2016. 

“I learned that only I could fight for me the way it needed to be done,” Breese said. She went on to provide tips, suggesting prayer and meditation, which helped her bridle the mental health issues she faced after the bombing.These tips have been especially helpful today for people across the world enduring mental health issues during or due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

 Finally, Breese shared how Xavier inspired her idea of “changing the world, and leaving it a better place.”

X Breakfast 2020 was modified in order to change with the irregular times, but it was still able to raise more than $275,000 for the school. As for the possibility of continuing this virtual format in the future, Bruggman said, “We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m sure most people would like to physically gather and enjoy the event together like we have always done.  This helps build community and brings an energy that is difficult to replicate online.”