Who is Father John?
Fr. John Blazek is undoubtedly a staple to the Gilmour culture; he’s a proud alumni, he follows the Holy Cross lifestyle, and he has worked at GA for over 50 years. So, his views on Gilmour are not only valid but come from a place of nostalgia. Fr. John is loving what he sees in terms of improvements to Gilmour, and he relates these improvements to past establishments.
A Trip to the Past
When reminiscing back to his days as a GA student, Fr. John notes that he “did not have the facilities that [current students] have here today.” For example, there was no swimming pool, and the Athletic Center that all students know and love was much simpler. However, the priest made clear that those establishments were considered modern for that time. “Many of the things are the same, like the camaraderie and the togetherness of the student body,” said Fr. John. He says that even though technical elements have changed, how people treat each other with kindness has remained constant.
Fr. John talks with students in Our Lady Chapel.
Living Through an Evolution
When asked to reflect on the dynamic state of the school, Fr. John shared how he has seen the diversity of Gilmour evolve over the years. “We didn’t have international students when I was a student,” said Fr. John. In his view, the recruitment of people from all over the globe has transformed the school. He also noted that even though GA is a boarding school, the students “are almost all from the continental United States.” As a matter of fact, Fr. John is originally from Cleveland Heights himself, a suburb of Cleveland that many students reside in today.
Key Advancements at Gilmour
Fr. John sees the 2019-2020 school year as “the most changed year [he’s] seen” in comparison to past years as well. The Holy Cross priest “think[s] the goals for this year are so exciting.” He said students are being “much more conscientious about recycling” and “respect[ing] the various different groups of people.” He related this particular advancement to the school’s theme for the year: Inclusiveness. Fr. John sees the theme as a gateway to social advancements in our school.
“I think the students are responding very well to [the theme] and they will continue throughout the year,” Fr. John said. He sees this year as a year of growing in kindness and respect, and he is excited for the future.
Looking Towards the Future
Fr. John continued his point about inclusiveness being a major proponent in this year’s advancements. He thinks that what students need to “have a big emphasis on group supporting each other.” He used home sports games as an example, noting how the student section can be filled with lively and enthusiastic students ready to root for their home team. Although Father John wants to see more people at sports games and other events, he also “think[s] the fine arts building is long overdue” and that it will “open up a lot of possibilities.”
An Opinion That Matters
Fr. John sees many material advancements that he loves, but social improvements are his main focus; inclusiveness and eco-consciousness are key to Fr. John, as he sees major growth but also wants to encourage even more. As a Gilmour alumn and long-time priest, Fr. John’s opinion matters. Thankfully, Fr. John Blazek is loving what he is seeing here in the 2019-2020 school year, and he is excited for what is to come.