The Honorable John Rakolta, Jr ’65, United States Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates
“I don’t think there is anything more important than education and preparing this generation for the future. You are the future of our country and the world. There is nothing more important than who is the next ambassador or president that is sitting in this class. My hope and prayer are with you that you use this gift of education that is unique in the world. This is a very special responsibility each one of you have. Take advantage of this opportunity, don’t let it go to waste, don’t squander it. You too can be an Ambassador if you choose to do so.”
— Ambassador John Rakolta Jr. ‘65
Brother Rice High School has the notable distinction of four United States Ambassadors, two current and two former, affiliated with the school. Three of these four Ambassadors are alumni – Richard Fredericks ’64, Gerry McGowan ’64, and John Rakolta Jr. ’65, and one is a parent of an alumnus & grandparent David Fischer P’91, GP’23.
Each of these men embody the spirit and ideals of Brother Rice High School and through their distinctive careers and in diplomatic service to our nation stand as vivid reminders to our students as to what is possible, meaningful, and impactful. We are enriched by their affiliation with Brother Rice and grateful for their service to America.
Recently, we were honored to host on campus via zoom video conference with the Ambassador’s Residence in Abu Dhabi a special educational program with The Honorable John Rakolta Jr. ’65, United States Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, for an interactive and informative “Conversation on Global Diplomacy” with particular attention to the historic Abraham Accords between The United Arab Emirates and Israel. Ambassador Rakolta was an active witness on the global stage in recent months to this historic accord furthering peace, security, and prosperity in the Middle East.
The video above reflects inspirational words & wisdom offered by Ambassador Rakolta as part of his hour-long exchange with Brother Rice students.
Highlights of Inspiring Words offered by Ambassador Rakolta:
Warrior Mentality in Life:
“You might not know what you want to do in your life at this stage of your life, but you need to know how to prepare yourself. What are the fundamentals that you need to be a Warrior in Life? The world has become a very competitive place. This Warrior Mentality, as I call it, is made up of three things: 1) your physical well being – physically fit, good night sleep, 2) your mental well being – education, development of your skills, your values, and the final aspect is 3) your spiritual well being – your soul, your purpose, your relationship with God. All of these things added up to my passion. Life is very, very long, and hard if you’re not chasing your passion. So you all should be developing something you are passionate about in life.”
Overarching quality of Leadership:
“Leadership in its best form is love for your fellow man that can drive you to do things you wouldn’t normally think of. It is instinctive. It is where people become heroes. It’s where people don’t consider themselves and do what is good for mankind. What I’ve found in life is if that is your philosophy, good things will come to you also.”
“The one thing I would leave to you is to love your fellow man. Today there is a lot said about bullying and aspects in life. I would encourage you to stick up for the disadvantaged, protect the weak, and serve our Lord and Savior that you can be proud of. I have always told my kids – never do anything you Mother wouldn’t be proud of, and anytime you first start stepping over that line, just ask yourself, “What would my mother say?” if you have any doubt. Final advice – Figure out a way to be grateful, to be happy. Be strategic, never impulsive. And lastly, There is no substitute for hard work. Work ethic is the number one characteristic that propels you forward.”
The Honorable Henry Saad P’00, Former Chief Judge, Michigan Court of Appeals
As the world’s longest surviving written charter of government, the United States Constitution serves as a blueprint for democracies worldwide. It has been quoted in the halls of government, studied in the halls of academia, and cited in the courts of law. It stands as an enduring tribute to the foundational principle of a free society capsulated in its first three words, “We the People” affirming the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens.
Such is the context for an engaging, informative, and enlightening presentation “A Constitutional Conversation” by The Honorable Henry Saad, former Chief Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals, former Chairman of the Brother Rice High School Board of Directors, and proud parent of Andrew, class of 2000.
On October 30, 2020, a group of 50 students, teachers, staff, and alumni gathered in the Brother Rice Gymnasium for this special symposium, reflecting on the Constitution’s historical context and its sustained importance today.
For the students in Mr. Ciaravino and Mr. Kuschel’s Social Studies classes, Judge Saad provided a look back to the forefathers’ development of the Constitution and the Constitutional politics that have come into play throughout our country’s history. The presentation included insights behind the politics surrounding the recent appointment of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
Judge Saad has been a judicial nominee himself. In 1994, former Governor Engler appointed Judge Saad to the Michigan Court of Appeals, a role he held for 23 years, including a term as Chief Judge. Judge Saad was nominated for federal appointments by both President H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush. As a result, Judge Saad has spoken on the nominating process on many occasions.
Brother Rice High School is so thankful for the loyalty, time, and expertise of Judge Henry Saad as he is a passionate constitutionalist recognized through his talks, lectures, and professorships at the collegiate level as an important voice and thought leader influencing the next generation of law students and aspiring public servants. We are proud to call him a Brother Rice Warrior!
To view the entire video of the program, please click here.
Brother Rice High School is a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School and ranked the #1 Catholic High School in Michigan. A proud private educational institution located in Bloomfield Hills.