Daniel Garcia ‘18 is a success story powered by a determination regardless of desire or destiny, a positive attitude entwined with a relentless ethic rooted in a foundation on values, caring for others, inspiring all to be their best.
When presented with the 2018 Principal’s Service and Leadership Award, the honor reflected Garcia’s significant academic resume, his deeply influential role as Student Council president and his valued participation within Eagle Athletics – the quintessential model among the St. Thomas student community as an apostle of the Basilan credo Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.
“In terms of leadership, I always wanted to put myself out there, to learn and grow into what it means to be a leader,” Garcia said. “I wasn’t convinced I had reached that level but this award confirms that I’m moving forward to where I hope to be.”
In the fall Garcia joins another large St. Thomas contingent attending Texas A&M University. He was recognized in equal measure for his scholarly achievement, exceptional contributions to the student community and noteworthy leadership demonstrated in one or more activities.
Assistant Principal Mary Criaco described Garcia as “a hard-working and well organized young man who brought creative and strategic ideas when presenting student issues to the Dean’s office. He also took the responsibility for implementing his ideas rather than simply relying on others. He was a joyful young man who is always seen with a smile and great outlook about his school and his life.”
Garcia takes particular pride in developing then harnessing a strict internal definition of leadership … influence others to accomplish the goal … understanding the difference between directed duties and implied … putting the needs and goals of the group ahead of personal interest and acclaim.
“To me, a leader is selfless,” Garcia said. “It’s all about efficiency and not show. I believe in allowing another man to step up and take charge if he chooses but only after he knows the expectations and is capable of meeting the challenge, the objectives never compromised.”
Garcia maintained an A average throughout his St. Thomas academic career. But he gained clarity after his freshman year that his rigorous curriculum was not sufficient if he was to reach his full potential.
“I wasn’t as involved as I needed to be,” Garcia said. “I made a conscious effort to take greater advantage of opportunities, push beyond my comfort zone, seek out electives and participate in clubs. My Speech courses were a difference-maker is terms of developing confidence. I wanted to know more people and discover my talents. And that’s when I recognized the strength of the bond that unites all of us here at St. Thomas.”
Garcia’s senior year included an unexpected dose of adversity. He was named one of four team captains and projected to play a meaningful role in the resurgence of Eagle Football as a starter in the defensive secondary.
But the 10-game regular season was first truncated due to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and Garcia then saw his measurable impact reduced dramatically because of injury. But he maintained the proper focus to motivate from the sideline and brought valuable experience and an infectious energy to his team.
“I believe you always prioritize the group regardless of how frustrated or disappointed you might be with your own circumstances,” Garcia said. “That encouragement makes a difference in individuals and helps create a culture for winning. My teammates were my brothers, close on and off the field. You could see by how unselfish we played that we loved each other. I just tried to make the team feel whole.”
Catholic. Basilian. Teaching Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge since 1900.