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An Episcopal, co-educational 100% boarding school in Middletown, Delaware for grades 9 – 12

The Call to Serve
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Tomás Buccini ’23

Tomás Buccini gave this talk on community service at St. Andrew's during Awards Night 2023

One of Hutch’s mantras about community service here at St. Andrew’s is that we don’t serve for college apps, our resumé, or any other form of recognition. We serve because we receive the call to do so. I can’t say I fully understood this message until this year, when I met Orlando, a Brazilian soccer and tennis coach who goes to the Middletown Senior Center every Wednesday. 

Tabitha, Nikki, and I organize weekly groups of 18 students to visit this same Senior Center and spend time with the elderly people who spend time there. The folks at the Senior Center come from all over the world, speak a variety of languages, and have so much to say—but have such a small audience to listen to them. I met Orlando, who is fluent in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and English, when I randomly sat down at his table, introduced myself as the son of a Dominican immigrant, and began speaking to him in Spanish. 

Although my favorite moments with Orlando were our one-on-one conversations, I was sometimes joined by friends like Harry, Ford, Darden, and Rose. Throughout the year, his advice to us was always clear—be ambitious.

In one of our first conversations, I expressed to him my goal of becoming a senator. With youthful pessimism, I confessed that I thought it was an unachievable goal. He encouraged me, however, and promptly began calling me Mr. President, a nickname he continued calling me until our last conversation. Every Wednesday, Orlando would ask me about policies I planned on implementing, calling me out for flaws in said policies, all the while pushing me to stop doubting myself. While I am still uncertain about any future I have in public office, I am grateful for the conversations I have had with Orlando. 

Then, in the last few minutes of our final conversation, he thanked me. He told me that our conversations together allowed him to think and have meaningful discussions. At that moment, I understood the importance of community service. Service does not need to be one party giving to the other; instead, it is a mutual reception. I saw that I wasn’t just serving Orlando and the Senior Center, but Orlando was serving me by sharing his wisdom. 

My job as head of community service is to give you the opportunities to serve. My life has changed because when I received the call to serve, I answered, and learned. So when you get the chance to do so, sign up for mentoring. Give blood. Referee a Special Olympics game. Go say hi to Orlando for me. 

Finally, I just want to give thanks to Hutch. You have set the example for Nikki, Tabitha, and me. In my three years here, you have helped me grow on the lacrosse field, in the chapel, in my service work, and most importantly, as a person. You will continue to do amazing things, and I will forever be grateful for your unwavering faith in me. 

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