Featured Friar: John Tornabene ‘14

   Since opening its doors in 1961, Curley has been known for producing well-rounded men through its rigorous academic coursework, rich athletic traditions, and fine arts programs. This month’s “Featured Friar”, John Tornabene ’14, is a premier example of a young alumnus making the most of the opportunities provided to him as a result of his Curley education.

     Following graduation from Curley in the spring of 2014, John began studying at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Initially a biochemistry major, he eventually changed his focus to chemical engineering with an emphasis on environmental engineering. Now entering what will be the final year of his undergraduate degree, John currently has a 3.5 GPA. Having spent the last four years as a defenseman for UMBC’s Division I lacrosse program, of which three of those seasons he was a starter, John was recently inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma fraternity, which is the National College Athlete Honor Society. “The highlight of lacrosse career took place over my senior season when I was elected as a team captain, and helped lead the defense to be ranked as the #1 scoring defense in the country that season. This upcoming school year I am joining the staff at UMBC as a volunteer undergraduate assistant.” Aside from his athletic success at UMBC, John has also represented himself and his family through his sport internationally. “This past year, I earned a spot on the inaugural Philippines National Lacrosse Team, which competed in the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships in Netanya, Israel during July of 2018. Our team went from being unranked to finishing as the #10 team in the world. That was truly one of the greatest achievements of my life, as I represented my heritage in a way that not many people get to do.”

     When asked about his current role, John stated that being a student is his full-time job, however it is a job that he does not mind since he was taught to enjoy learning from his time as a student at Curley. To help pay the bills, John bartends at an up-and-coming bar in Federal Hill called The Charles. “While working there, I have met and reconnected with many Curley alumni, and hope to continue to do so in the future. Professionally, I interned at Northrop Grumman during the summers of 2016 and 2017, and I have also worked as an environmental compliance and sustainability intern, which really helped me narrow my focus on what I wanted to pursue as my career.” As for his future plans, John hopes to move to California following graduation from UMBC to attend graduate school in his field, while simultaneously coaching lacrosse.

     John is incredibly humbled for the opportunity to have attended Curley, saying “I would not be the man I am today if it were not for Archbishop Curley High School. The people I met, the values that were instilled in me, and the experiences I enjoyed shaped me into the proud Curley man that I am now. Professionally, my career path is directly attributed to two mentors I had the pleasure of knowing while at Curley; the first is Mr. Mike DeMarco. I had three classes with him through my high school career, including AP Biology. I learned an immense amount about life and the physical world around us in that class, and I knew it was something that I wanted to continue learning about for the rest of my life. Mr. DeMarco made the class hard for a reason, and I’ll always remember the countless hours of work my classmates and I put into that class together, especially coming in an hour before school had started in order to learn more material. The second major influencer was one of my lacrosse coaches, John Tucker '79. Coaches typically have phrases that they frequently say, and one of his was, ‘Leave this place better than you found it.’ That saying has stuck with me through my entire life, and it has turned into a motto I try to emulate every day, especially in my profession. With the rising effects of climate change globally, my passion for life and the environment, and my desire to leave the Earth a better place for the next generation, I knew that environmental engineering was a calling for me. If I did not attend Curley I might never have realized this.”

     When asked what it means to be a “Curley Man”, John stated that Curley prepared him like no other. “There are countless small stories that aided in instilling positive values within me while at Curley. One that immediately comes to mind was a time when several students were complaining about going to the annual mother-son dance. Fr. Joe Benicewicz '78 told them that, ‘In life, you are going to have to make sacrifices for the women you love.’ That struck really deep with me, and it made me realize how important appreciating your family is, and to always do your best to make them happy. The idea of brotherhood has also been a huge part of my life since Curley. I’ve come to appreciate just how awesome it is to have a family of brothers that you can rely on.” When asked what he would say to a young man considering Curley for his high school education, John kept his answer simple and honest. “I would say to him that going to Curley would be one of the best decisions of his life. You can get a great education at many schools, but at Curley you develop into a man.”

     John is the son of Julie Perise and Greg Tornabene. He has one sister, Samantha Tornabene, and in his free time he likes to cook, skate, and go to the beach. This past summer, John was featured in The Baltimore Sun in an article highlighting his lacrosse career. You can read the article here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/lacrosse-blog/bs-sp-fil-world-lacrosse-championship-20180709-story.html .

      If you are interested in contacting John, you can email him at: jatornabene@gmail.com.

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