“I see the impact of a Xaverian education in my brothers’ eyes and in my nephew’s eyes. I see the impact in my own life.” Jay McDermott ’73 knows how impactful a Xaverian education is. For him, it was a family affair. Jay grew up in Randolph, and attended Saint Mary’s School in Milton, along with his other siblings. His family had little money and Xaverian never seemed like an option. That was until Jay took the Xaverian Brothers High School entrance exam.
On the mathematics portion, Jay had a close to perfect score, earning him and one other student a fully-funded scholarship to attend Xaverian. “Had this not happened, I probably would have gone on to attend the public high school or another Catholic high school,” explains Jay, who later paved the way for his brothers John ’78 and Paul ’82 to attend Xaverian. Even his sister made her way to Xaverian, coming to many of the Xaverian dances.
“Xaverian made me grow,” says Jay, who remembers well his involvement with theatre at Xaverian. “I remember the winter extravaganza shows that we used to put on at Xaverian in the gym. They were huge productions that Mr. Joe Hayes used to put on. I loved my involvement in these.” Among the teachers Jay had at Xaverian, he fondly recalls two of them, both of whom were Xaverian Brothers. “Brother Bede Benn was by far one of my favorite teachers,” says Jay. “He was a wonderful man.” Jay also remembers Brother Joe Gerard. “God Bless him. He gave his life to teaching,” explains Jay. “I remember one of Brother Joe’s famous lines that he would often proclaim to his students. ‘Well bucko, you’re going to have to learn something,’ he’d often say to a student who wasn’t interested in learning.”
Jay knows from experience that a Xaverian education works. “Your teen years are never easy. Xaverian had a good handle on getting a boy through it then, and they still have it right today.”
After Xaverian, Jay attended The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester and later earned his dentistry degree. “I knew I wanted to go into medicine. I loved working with my hands, but I knew I didn’t want to be a physician. When I learned about dentistry, something struck a chord for me.” Since receiving his degree, Jay has both run his own dentistry practice and worked for other private practices, including South Boston Dental Associates. “I knew that in going into dentistry, I could do a lot of good for people. Xaverian taught me this and to always follow my passions, as long as I worked hard and was kind to others.” These Xaverian lessons continued for Jay’s nephew, James, who graduated from Xaverian in 2013, and went on to attend Berklee College of Music.
Today, Jay and his wife, Ann, currently split their time between living in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Provincetown. They enjoy the outdoors, in particular, camping in Maine.
When asked why he decided to make a planned gift to Xaverian, making him a member of The Brother Marcellus Society, Jay explains, “I am very appreciative of the gift that was given to me to attend Xaverian. At this point in my life, it is a good time to give back. Xaverian’s reputation is earned – they never rest on their laurels. So, I knew making a gift of this size would go to a good place.”