In 1970, the United States lowered the voting age to 18, the Boeing 747 made its initial commercial flight and Earth Day was celebrated for the first time. Significant events, all, but none as important to Xaverian as Mr. Joseph Verde embarking on his teaching career at 7100 Shore Road; one that, thankfully, continues today. In the 52 years since he arrived, ironically, without his signature mustache, his kindness, generosity, and boundless energy have greatly enriched every facet of the Xaverian community. It is our great honor and privilege to acknowledge his many contributions by recognizing him as this year’s recipient of the Spirit of Xaverian Award.
Those hoping to find the special secret to Mr. Verde’s incredibly successful tenure may be disappointed by the simplicity of his response.
“Xaverian is a great place”, said Verde. “Of course, many changes have taken place since 1970. But they all seem to be minor when you realize what’s remained the same. There’s something very special about the Xaverian kid. There’s never been a year when I’ve been unhappy with my students.”
“My relationships with the students, both boys and girls, has been the primary thing that has sustained me”, he continued. “I love these kids and wouldn’t be teaching if it wasn’t for them. They keep me young.”
While Mr. Verde has guided thousands of grateful alumni through both the Language and Social Studies curricula over the course of his career, his reach far exceeds the classroom. He was the driving force in founding the school’s Soccer program, served as Director of the Xaverian Parent Circle, moderated both the Social Committee and the Model United Nations, and oversaw the Student Coordinating Council for more than three decades. A mentor and trusted confidante to faculty and administration, alike, he has, truly, lived the Spirit of Xaverian.
“A colleague who is also a former student once told me that I belong at Xaverian. I think that’s the greatest compliment anyone could ever receive.”
Mr. Verde lives on Staten Island with his wife, Carol. Together, they have three children and three grandchildren.