Homecoming 2016 brought Phil York, Class of 2006, back to the school for the Alumni Tailgate and the football game. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to find out what Phil is up to now. Phil was recently on campus to visit with Mrs. Anders and Mr. Minsker to discuss a partnership experience between Saint John’s and Habitat for Humanity. See the following interview with Phil York:
Where were you born and raised?
I am a Navy brat (the term “brat” is affectionately what military kiddos are called by the military community). This means that I moved around a bit growing up. I was born in Norfolk, VA and lived in several states both related to my father’s military service and subsequently as an adult. However, I call Frederick, MD home.
Year of graduation from Saint John’s?
What activities/sports did you participate in while at Saint John’s?
I participated in music (the mass choir, holiday choir and performed the national anthem at as many games I could), student government (I served as class president for all but one year), national honor society, track & cross country, event planning (I enjoyed the prep and clean up before an event…yes, I was an odd student) and theater. My favorite activity was flag duty (as a military kid, this may not be a surprise to read). I always appreciated the solemn opportunity to raise the flag in the still of the morning air and to put the flag to rest at the end of a busy day.
Favorite memories from Saint John’s
There is not enough space for me to fully outline all of the favorite memories from Saint John’s.
Professionally – I am very appreciative of the required volunteer service hours. These hours gave me space to not only give back but to also test my skills in the nonprofit setting to see if the sector is the right fit. Also, as I applied for internships in college, I had a vast amount of prior experience in the field by grace of Saint John’s volunteer program. This competitive life advantage was also useful as I applied for colleges. I was able to write with an informed opinion about hunger and housing issues because I personally invested in programs that ameliorate these issues.
Many salutes are earned and hopefully given to Ms. Splaine and all staff that support professional development through the SJCP volunteer program.
Within the next couple of months, I look forward to partnering with Ms. Anders, Mr. Ross, Mr. Minsker and other members of the SJCP team to provide a 1) fundraising internship for a willing Viking whose efforts will equip them with similar experience I earned that later enabled me to grow professionally, to stand out among the pack in interviews and to better serve the needs of my community and 2) a volunteer experience for Vikings to help build a Habitat for Humanity home.
Academically – I recall the long hours that teachers like Ms. Splaine and Ms. Stewart invested in before and after school tutoring. When I saw that the math department needed calculators via the alumni news, I dedicated saved funds straight away to support the need. My academic wheel-house was English – the summer reading program was an annual highlight for me. Yet, I appreciated how Mr. Minsker always pushed me to raise my skill level.
I also recall the joy of mastering a difficult song with the steady and constant guidance of the late Mrs. McGill. I went on to compete in regional vocals and earned an honorable mention thanks to her dedication.
I am forever thankful for my parent’s patience as they tolerated the early fumbling stages of rehearsed songs (which sounded more like forms of torture) right on up to the pre-event polished version of the once rough piece! My entire Saint John’s experience was a great supplement to the lessons, morals, work ethic and code my parents taught at home.
The late Father Reid taught me the importance of a faith lived by deed – he taught that faith is not just something we point to on Sunday and leave on a shelf during the week. I cherish the memories of class retreats that gave students time to bond; the senior retreat felt like a “coming of age” moment that I will never forget.
Track and cross country memories are abundant. The discipline of running helped to reinforce the importance of hard work and faith in my ability to tackle incredible goals. I will always remember the first country race I ever ran (I wish I could forget it!) and how my peers cheered me on as I ended the race as one of the last runners (the lights on the course were turning off, buses were leaving the area, and the sun was well on its way down…Im still surprised a “missing person report” was not filed for me) …but judging by their optimism…you would have thought that I won the wooded-acre race! Later that same season, after working on my technique, I completed a race and placed in the heat that benefitted our team’s goal for the day. Just as they did when I was dead last in the heat, my peers were there waiting for me at the finish line…this time well-placed in the pack. The unconditional support from the team is a constant memory and forever shaped my leadership style which is focused on team development and servant leadership.
I attended Marietta College and earned a B.A. in Political Science (minor in History; certificate in business leadership). After Marietta, I earned my Masters of Public Administration from Texas A&M University.
My current profession is nonprofit fundraising. I have raised close to $7 million in philanthropic dollars since I professionally entered the field in 2012.
I currently serve as Director of Development for Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County, MD. It is my job to communicate and to fund the mission of Habitat for Humanity – a nonprofit that partners with families of low income as they earn the American Dream of homeownership.
What are your hobbies?
I visit the library at least once a week. I have an insatiable appetite for autobiographies, self-improvement books and anything about communication or fundraising.
I also volunteer with as many nonprofits as possible. My current service is with a Frederick-based nonprofit called Empowering Community Leaders Network, Inc. Their mission is based on the power of mentorship with the key program being a mentorship program for female middle school students. College tours, tutoring, high ropes courses and horseback riding are just a few program highlights. All of these elements are designed to encourage youth to aspire towards greatness in both short term and long term goal setting. My parents started this powerful mission work and it is a joy to give back to them each day as a volunteer.
No – but I am the coolest uncle in the world!
Where do you live now?
Do you stay in contact with Saint John’s classmates?
I look forward to reconnecting with classmates now that I am back in the Maryland area after living in Texas for the past six years, first as a graduate student and later as a fundraiser with Habitat for Humanity.
Have you seen the new campus?
The new campus is brilliant! I am most excited to see how there is smart space for future expansion.
If you would like to share the story of your life since graduation from Saint John’s please contact Michele Rogers.