The Task of the Sculptor

By Max Maier
Matthew Mejia ’25 is that rare combination of humility and personal excellence, someone who exemplifies what a Strake Jesuit Man for Others strives to be. On the humility front, Matthew would be the first to admit that his God-given talents do not center on traditional team sports like football or basketball. Several years back, Matthew’s mother chanced upon a Groupon for classes in a local fencing studio. It was not love at first sight. For one, Matthew was a tad flummoxed by the abstruse terminology and panoply of accoutrements. If you’re not altogether sure how an “épée” differs from a “foil” or “sabre,” it’s worth a chat with Matthew (or at the very least a Google search). However, Matthew fell in love with fencing over time, and fencing has allowed him to hone his discipline, focus, and overall drive towards excellence—qualities that serve him in other domains at Strake Jesuit and beyond.

Teachers fortunate enough to have worked with Matthew are quick to shine the spotlight on his many virtues. Mr. Guillermo Hernandez-Ching has worked with Matthew in the orchestra and attests to the way Matthew “brings enthusiasm and solid work ethic to every practice” and likewise highlights how music “expresses his commitment to faith.”

AC Pre-Calculus teacher Mr. D’Souza has been one of Matthew’s chief inspirations. Matthew says, “Mr. D’Souza has enabled me and others to feel completely comfortable asking questions and being wrong, even in the confines of an advanced math class.” For his part, Mr. Reynold D’Souza remarks that “besides being a polite gentleman with astute character, Matthew is tenacious in meeting the rigor of the AC Pre-Calculus course.”

Matthew credits theology teacher Mr. Connor LoPiccolo with enriching his relationship with Christ. For Matthew, Mr. LoPiccolo presents theology “not in terms of abstract ideas but as a student’s personal evolution as a follower of Christ, his relationship with the Creator.”

When asked about his most formative experiences at Jesuit thus far, Matthew is quick to highlight the benefits of Freshman Retreat: “I understand that there is a greater purpose which God has in mind for me, and I wish to become the person who exudes Christ’s compassion out in the world.”

Matthew also was fortunate enough to accompany me and others from the SJ community on a spiritual and cultural trip through Italy last spring. In reflecting on how much that trip meant to him, Matthew expresses in characteristic eloquence a keen insight about spiritual growth: “Michelangelo states, ‘Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.’ Much like Michelangelo’s view of sculpting and St. Ignatius’ perspective of the nature God created, I seek to understand that the abilities God gives us are part of the greater plan He has for each of our lives.”

It is exciting to think that Strake Jesuit will be blessed with Matthew’s presence for over two years to come and we hope to bear witness to that “greater plan” that God has in store for him.