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Men for & with Others

St. X Bids Farewell to Trio of ‘Superstars’

Date: 5/30/2006

Mark Motz

St. X Bids Farewell to Trio of ‘Superstars’

More than 90 years of St. Xavier High School teaching experience will be gone at the end of the school year. Jack Emmett (’53), Lindy Michael and Steve Rasso celebrated their retirement announcements with family, friends and colleagues at the annual faculty-staff appreciation dinner May 24.

                                                              
  Retiring faculty members, from left, Jack Emmett, Lindy Michael and Steve Rasso sit in their farewell chairs presented by the St. X Faculty Association, backed up by their spouses Janet Emmett, Tim Michael and Sally Rasso.  

Emmett, the current dean of the faculty, steps down after 44 years teaching math, Latin, Greek, Russian and classics at his alma mater, following a three-year stint at Cincinnati Country Day. While introducing him, fellow foreign language teacher Ed Hausfeld – who celebrated his 30th year at St. X at the dinner – said, “He has been a Christ-like figure for faculty and students here at St. X forever.”

Emmett thanked his wife of 41 years, Janet, and his family, for their love and support during his tenure. He mentioned his father enrolled at St. X in 1909. He had three sons – Brian (’88), Tim (’90) and Sean (’94) – attend the school. He now has a great-nephew in the class of 2009. “The class of ’09; 2009, not 1909,” he said. “I like that idea of our family having 100 years in the school.”

He also thanked his fellow teachers, the school’s administration and staff, his students and alumni for their efforts in keeping St. X a special institution. “Emotion has welled up in me these last few months, but the one that’s far in front of whatever is second, is gratitude. I think people, families, communities – not just individuals – get recognition, and I certainly couldn’t have done this alone.”

Counselor Carol Morgan introduced math teacher Lindy Michael who is leaving after 22 years. Morgan and Michael both came to St. X in 1984 and have been fast friends ever since. “When you meet Lindy, you love Lindy,” Morgan said. “You’re always aware you’re in the hands of a professional educator and a caring, Christian woman.”

Michael – who taught at Upper Arlington High School and the University of Cincinnati before coming to St. X – said she what she will miss most is her students, with whom she has an amazing bond and shares a passion for difficult mathematical concepts in calculus. “One of the things I’m most proud of is we grew the Math Club to 120 regularly participating students,” she said. “It was the second-most populated extracurricular after football.”

Michael and her husband Tim, both active animal rights activist, plan on traveling to the Galapagos Islands this year and spending more time at their home in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Michael said she may write a math textbook as a retirement project, a worth project when you consider many of her lesson plans – in her words - “for better or worse, all these years later, the hand-written plans I made when I came here are still in use in the math department.”

English teacher and head football coach Steve Specht (’86) introduced Steve Rasso, who retires from teaching two years after stepping down as head football coach. Rasso ends a 28-year tenure with St. X after also teaching in Cleveland and locally at Elder, Covington Catholic and LaSalle high schools.

“Tonight we’re losing three superstars,” Specht said. “A little bit of the graduates of this school – and I’m proud to call myself one of them – dies when they go. Specifically when you talk about Steve, his favorite guys were never the ones who were the stars, who got their names in the paper. He loved the guys who worked the hardest, who gave the most effort, who put the team first. And when he talks to you now, he doesn’t ask what a success you are, he asks what kind of a husband you are, what kind of a father you are, what kind of a mentor you are. I go away sad tonight he’s leaving, but I go away hopeful knowing he taught us all it’s not about who we are, it’s about what we can do for each other.”

Rasso, like the others before him, thanked his wife, Sally, and his family for their constant love and support, especially sharing the high highs and lows of the coaching profession. He also thanked the St. Xavier community for its enduring dedication to the magis, striving for more.

“It took me a while to figure it out, but there is something different, something special about this place,” Rasso said. “It’s not that we’re better than anybody else, that we’re better at anything else, but it is that here it’s cool to be smart. Our kids – and it’s because of people like you who teach them – want to be smart. They want to work hard, they want to go on and do great things. And they do. And I’m happy I could be a part of it. A lot of people think it’s just a word, but at St. X magis means magis.”

President Fr. Walter Deye S.J. (’66) thanked the three retirees for their dedicated service, and thanked all current faculty and staff – and the retirees who had come back to celebrate with former colleagues – for carrying on the tradition of St. X begun in 1831.

“It is bittersweet, for sure, to say goodbye to Jack and Lindy and Steve,” Deye said. “But the things they talked about, they’ve given to us. I look forward to the new generation of teachers and those people in this room tonight passing on what Jack and Lindy and Steve have passed on to you. It’s yours. They’ve given it to you and you’ll give it to them.”

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