by Nicholas Diaz
The new Columbus mission statement states that “Brotherhood, Faith, and Scholarship define the Marist Brothers Catholic education at Christopher Columbus High School.” It is no mistake that “brotherhood” is the first word in this statement. As Principal David Pugh states, “When you talk to somebody outside of Christopher Columbus High School, the very first thing they talk about is the brotherhood. The very first thing the alumni talk about from their experience is their brotherhood. When the freshman class comes in they talk about the brotherhood and they haven’t even been here a week.”
Since its founding in 1958, Columbus has been defined by this unique spirit of brotherhood. Columbus has been the home of a unique and diverse community of men and women that aims to foster a culture of respect and inclusion. The brotherhood is Columbus’s unique spirit of camaraderie among students.
However, the brotherhood extends beyond students, which is what makes Columbus so distinct. The brotherhood includes Columbus teachers, parents, alumni, and others. It is a community much larger than the school itself.
According to Principal Pugh, this brotherhood is what gives Columbus its exceptional status. He states, “It is what separates us from other schools because there is a bond that we understand, that we developed, that we formed over four years at Columbus. This is a very unique community and environment.”
“I don’t think it happens without everybody’s involvement,” he continues. The brotherhood requires the entire Columbus community to be successful. It manifests itself in the classroom, on the field, in clubs and organizations, in externships, in faith and service, and in careers.
The brotherhood is built on connections, legacies, traditions, and the Marist charism. Columbus’ Marist identity is especially important for the brotherhood and the primary reason why Columbus stands out compared to other schools.
As Brother John explains, “A lot of it is humility, simplicity, and modesty, which are not virtues many people aspire to.” Columbus’s focus on the development of these Marist virtues along with virtues of hard work and dedication is one of the main reasons why the Columbus brotherhood is so unique.
The primary mission of Columbus is this Marist development of young men. This mission is carried out by empowering young men to be leaders and make Jesus Christ known and loved. Students are encouraged to grow and develop, and they have the support of the entire brotherhood community.
This spirit of empowerment is difficult to find in other schools. As Principal Pugh explains, contrary to other schools, “We do not just educate our students, we lead them, we guide them, we mentor them” and “we empower young men.”
The spirit of the brotherhood is that force that empowers students and facilitates their success in all spheres of life, academic, extracurricular, or personal. Once students are welcomed into the brotherhood, they are animated by its spirit of respect, inclusion, and empowerment. That is why Dr. E Carter Burrus ‘62, an alumnus and guidance counselor says the brotherhood “is like an entire state of mind. You are Columbus. That is your identity… it stays with you for the rest of your life.”
The brotherhood permanently marks students as a part of the Columbus community. It gives students a sense of belonging and empowerment that students carry with them for the rest of their lives, even after their four years at Columbus. It distinguishes Columbus from other schools and is something that every educational institution ought to emulate on its campus.