Beyond CM...and Back Again

After college degrees and exploring the workforce, three CM alumni return as faculty to serve the next generation of boys. These teacher-coaches have grown into the men their school taught them to become, now it’s their turn to give back. 
Sydney Sarfo '16 from Hyde Park, Massachusetts
Teaches — Eighth Grade Physical Science and Chemistry
Favorite Teacher as a Student — Mr. Tobin
Best CM Memory — Winning the Basketball State Championship as a junior (2015)

Science teacher Sidney Sarfo couldn’t stay away from CM after graduating, returning to coach while working full-time. Looking back, it was CM’s flexible approach to learning that laid the foundation for his choice of profession.

“I studied Biology at Fairfield University and continued to do a lot of the activities I did at CM. There, I was a vice president of two clubs and also managed men’s basketball and men’s lacrosse. After graduating, I got a job in health care as a patient care technician, working in dialysis. My aspiration at the time was to apply to medical school, but the more time I spent at the clinic, the more I felt there was just something missing. It’s funny because, even though I was working full-time, I was coming back to CM to coach freshman basketball. I always looked forward to coming back here, even just for an hour to coach. It was Dr. Folan who told me he wanted me to be here, and that I’d be a good teacher because I relate to the kids. It’s been awesome to have colleagues who already know me. They don’t tell me how to teach, it’s the same as when I was a student here; it’s never ‘here is the one way to think, the one way to accomplish something,” which teaches adaptability and flexibility. The tools that they’ve given me as a student and as a teacher are priceless.”

Tony Kandalaft '15 from Weymouth, Massachusetts
Teaches — Intro to Computer Science and Robotics
Favorite Teacher as a Student — Br. Oxx
Best CM Memory — Winning the best car superlative.

"CM prepared me to strive for a goal and actually achieve it,” says Tony Kandalaft, who spent his post-grad years discerning which goal to strive for. As a computer-science teacher, he’s creating a world for boys to discover their own goals." “My family told me I should be a lawyer because I had done well in Speech & Debate at CM. That’s what prompted me to study Criminal Justice at Roger Williams University. I actually worked in a prison for a year; it was an interesting time, but not the path I wanted to go down…I was doing something because people told me I should. I felt torn because I loved 3D modeling and graphic design, it opened a lot of doors for my creativity. Even when I was pursuing criminal justice, I did freelance photography and creative work on the side. Fortunately, another family member told me to consider teaching. My first thought was CM, so I applied for a job. Being on the other side of the classroom has given me a new perspective. I understand why teachers are so passionate, we pour a lot of time into these lessons and hope it pays off for the boys. Students here are new to so much; some pick up coding, some pick up 3D design or robotics. When I’ve given an assignment to build a 3D model of the school, kids might groan because it sounds like a lot of work…but a few days later I’ll have to peel them away from their computer screens and give them fresh air — they get so engrossed in creating and building. What they’re learning could lead to video game design, architecture, creating whole worlds if they want. Each boy has his own way to be creative, and that ignites me to want to learn more.”

Ryan Julian '18 from Needham, Massachusetts
Classes — Eighth Grade and Freshman Theology
Favorite Teacher as a Student — Mr. Catano
Best CM Memory — Being part of CM's first-ever team to win a Speech and Debate Team State Championship (2017).

Ryan Julian helped usher in a new era of Speech & Debate at CM, taking part in a team that has won five of the last six state titles. His legacy continues as an assistant coach and theology teacher.

“Even after graduating, I always felt connected to CM because a lot of CM guys went to the College of the Holy Cross with me, and I would often visit because my younger brother was here. I studied English and education and I knew I wanted to teach. Mr. Catano was a big inspiration to me. Growing up, my dad always told me, ‘You want to work somewhere where you’re happy, you’re comfortable, and you can do good things.’ Some of my happiest memories are at CM, so of course I hoped it would be here. What stands out the most to me about CM is the Speech & Debate program, it gave me the confidence to speak in front of any crowd. I love how that plays out in the classroom and that I get to be a part of the program again. When I competed, we had a great foundation set by the alumni before us: how far they would progress in tournaments and the lessons they’d bring back as coaches. So, we had a healthy dose of confidence and felt we could final at any tournament we went to, which is still true for this generation. It’s fun to coach these guys, especially on pieces that my friends or I have done, so I know what the standard is. I am blessed to teach, it’s the perfect opportunity to speak to a crowd and serve this community. It’s fun to see myself and my friends in these boys, it’s so great to be back.”