President Joe Therber’s remarks for 2019 Father Tom Day

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Frank Sergie and Joe Therber

Frank Sergi (left) and Scecina President Joe Therber

Good morning. It is my pleasure to extend several thank you’s and then, on behalf of the Scecina Board of Directors, Mr. Dellacca, our administration, faculty, and staff, to present the Father Tom Service Award to a valued and deserving member of our community.

First, thank you, Father Jenkins and all the priests for leading our prayer this morning.

And thank you to all our guests — 7th grade students and teachers from our East Deanery schools, Scecina alumni and friends, members of our Veterans Committee and Board of Directors, and Ms. Michelle Radomsky from the Office of Catholic Schools.  We are very glad you all are here this morning.

Today marks the 75th anniversary of a day that, while tragic, has also powerfully touched our lives.   On this day in 1944, Father Thomas Scecina and his fellow prisoners aboard the Arisan Maru prisoner of warship were attacked at sea. All but a handful of them died a slow and frightening death because they were willing to write the ultimate blank check to our nation – the payment of their lives so that we can carry forward the values of faith, friendship, service, and sacrifice.

As the gospel today says, Jesus came to bring fire to the earth that brings people closer to him. That same fire burned into Father Thomas Scecina a spirit of faith, patriotism, service, and sacrifice. Because of that fire, he became a parish priest and a United States Army chaplain who wrote the blank check of his life so that we might be able to live. The result of that fire is that our school and each of us will forever bear his name.

Here, in front of us, are Father Tom’s many military service medals that are the evidence of the fire that burned deep within him.

Just like Father Tom, members of the United States military services have a burning call to service. They are willing to sacrifice their lives so that others may live. Their commitment is truly sacred.

So at this time, I ask all members of the Scecina Veterans Committee, members of the United States military services, whether active or retired, to please stand so that we can thank you.

Military service is also a family affair involving the commitment and support of family members who give their loved ones to serve. Would you please stand if you are the family member of a living or deceased member of our military service?  Thank you as well.

It’s our annual tradition to present the Father Tom Service Award to a person who believes in the importance of Scecina Memorial High School and, as Father Tom did during his life, lives the motto of “give that little extra” every day.

At Scecina, the phrase “give that little extra” has an important twist to it. It means not to “give a little”; instead, it means doing all that one can and then giving that little extra.

I want to tell you a little bit about our honoree and then invite him forward. The 2019 recipient of the Father Tom Service Award is Mr. Frank Sergi.

When you see Mr. Sergi in the library and talking with students many days each week, you would rightly think that he is a full-time member of our staff who earns a salary and has an obligation to be here every day.

Nothing, however could be further from the truth. After a successful career as a high school social studies teacher, football coach, and administrator, Mr. Sergi volunteers his time many days every week at Scecina as his way of “giving that little extra.”

Many of you, especially students who are 21st Century Scholars, have had the privilege of getting to know Mr. Sergi through advisory conversations with him. He has a deep-rooted faith in God and a belief in every young person’s potential. Living this belief motivates him to serve at Scecina.

Frank and his siblings grew up in the St. Bernadette Parish on the Eastside of Indianapolis. They are alumni of St. Bernadette Catholic School. He then attended Cathedral High School and finished his undergraduate studies at St. Joseph College.

Frank then began a ministry as a successful high school teacher, coach, and administrator, first at Cathedral High School as Social Studies & Religion teacher before moving to Lawrence Central High School where he was head varsity football coach, social studies teacher, and Dean of Students. He then served at Roncalli High School as Athletic Director and Assistant Principal before retiring from Franklin Central High School as Assistant Principal. Frank serves on the Board of Director of the new St. Joseph College at Marian University and assists the Catholic Youth Organization of our archdiocese in many ways.

As faithful members of Nativity Catholic Church, Frank and his wife, Trish, Scecina Class of ’73, raised three children, Mark, Monica and Tim. Following Trish’s passing, even though Mr. Sergi could have coasted during his retirement years, he immersed himself into Scecina to help students of all backgrounds and dreams succeed.

Frank’s dependence on God and the openness with which he professes his faith, along with his daily faith and courage in moving forward in life after the passing of his wife, are true inspirations. Mr. Sergi is a person for us to both admire and imitate. He certainly is for me.

For being a servant-leader who has given fully to his Church, family, and community, and who continues to “give that little extra” in so many ways, please welcome Frank Sergi as the 2019 recipient of the Father Tom Service Award!


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