The Tierney Brothers: Sacrifice, Spirit and Service
Long before Ryan ’20 Tierney (in red jacket on left) or his brother Matthew ’22 (in red jacket on right) were old enough to attend Regis Jesuit, the family had become deeply immersed in the idea. Through the summer swim team in Castle Pines, they knew Teddy ’15 and John ’17 Koerner, who went on to graduate from Pomona College and Columbia University respectively. And they knew about Jackson Fox ’13, another swimmer, who works as a consultant at Deloitte, after graduating from Notre Dame.
Financially, Regis Jesuit was an ambitious choice for the Tierneys, but thanks to financial aid, their boys were able to dive right in. As student-athletes dedicated to serving others, they’ve made quite the splash.
“My parents met and saw some really high-achieving kids, so they had a great impression from the get-go,” said Ryan, now a second-year student at Harvard where he swims with the varsity team and is part of the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (NROTC). “They value education above all else, and, as a Catholic family, we knew about the benefits of a Jesuit education. At Regis Jesuit, I learned to tackle issues from a lot of different angles. I learned to think critically.” He also continued his commitment to service, learned to improvise on the trumpet with the RJ Advanced Jazz Ensemble and graduated as valedictorian of the Boys Division in 2020. His valedictory speech, The Final Lesson, was defined in part by the impact of COVID on the senior class.
“Self-sacrifice is the highest form of the human condition,” he shared. “We use it to lift others up… Right now, more than 80,000 people have died across the United States in the past three months from coronavirus. While much of this may be out of our control, through the sacrifice of our ‘senior sunset’ (which pales in comparison to the immense self-sacrifice of the healthcare workers in this country), we have been empowered to show love for our fellow humans and to prevent future casualties, even though we may never be aware of their existence.”
Ryan’s brother Matthew is now a senior at Regis Jesuit. He also considers service to be one of the most impactful parts of his high school experience, along with playing trombone in the jazz ensemble and being a member of the Diversity Action Group (DAG).
“It was not only the things we did [in DAG], but I also made most of my closest friends there,” he says. Through his association with DAG, Matthew and 17 other RJ students and four adults attended the 65th annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women CSW65 in March of 2021. The theme was women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
Matthew says, “We listened to presentations from adult activists and commission leaders from all over the world. I took away that women’s rights mean different things in different places. Of course, I’m a white guy, but hopefully, our experience there, and our new awareness, encourages more people like me—especially at Regis Jesuit—to learn more and do more to make our school a more diverse and understanding place.” Matthew’s blog about the experience can be found online here.
The Tierney boys’ father Patrick says, “Regis developed our sons morally, mentally and physically. As their understanding of their academic subjects matured, so did their understanding of God.”
Their mother Sarah agrees, sharing that she is “profoundly grateful” for the generous financial aid that made it possible for her family to experience the community and education that uniquely defines the school. “Thanks to the benevolence of the Regis community, our sons have benefited from an outstanding education and have developed lifelong friendships.”
Regis Jesuit High School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other school-administered programs.
Regis Jesuit®, the Crest and RJ logos are federally registered trademarks owned by Regis Jesuit High School. All rights reserved.