I remember the first time I met Caylin Moore—he was a junior, here at Verbum Dei. Caylin was rather small, very talkative, confident, always with a football in hand, pen tucked behind his ear, quick to show respect, and just plain grateful for a vision of himself far into the future doing something great. He was an infrequent member of the Black Student Union, yet quick to remind us he was a member. And, when Caylin did show up, he was always very vocal, concerned, committed, and confident. His classmates liked and respected him and the feeling was mutual. Caylin was a team player with supreme confidence and he’d befriend anyone. Are you picking up a theme here? Some thought Caylin was a little too confident at times and that the world would set him straight. I was still undecided whether his confidence and his destiny would marry.
On Commitment Day, May 2012, when graduating seniors tell the entire Verbum Dei community which college they’ve selected to attend, Caylin, with the lots of fanfare and production, chose Marist College, in upstate New York. Packed and off he went on a full-ride football scholarship! Caylin was a standout high school quarterback, captain of the team, and garnered several other athletic accolades to his name.
Two years ago, I get a text from Caylin telling me he wants to transfer from Marist to Texas Christian University (TCU). I asked, “What…!?!…why do want to leave Marist? You have a full ride and your grades are great (he made the Honor Roll every year). What’s the problem?” Caylin texted, simply, “I belong at TCU.” That’s when I started to have a doubt or two of Caylin’s confidence versus his vision of his destiny. After all, it’s determined a “no-no” to transfer from one four-year University to another. Yet, try and tell Caylin Moore he can’t do something. And, of course, he made it happen—he transferred to TCU both for athletics and academics.
Two years later, Friday, November 18, 2016, I ran into his mother on campus, Calynn (CeJai) Moore, who is one of the first high school female football coaches in California, who coaches at Verbum Dei—another amazing story. As usual, I asked about her sons, Chase Moore, class of 2015, is at College of the Holy Cross, fighting the good fight and Caylin. “They’re doing great,” smiled CeJai. Yet, her smile was a bit brighter than most times, but I was running to a meeting—late of course—and couldn’t stop to ask. The next morning, she texted me “Caylin Moore is a RHODES SCHOLAR WINNER!” I remember thinking, “this must be a scam or virus.” I checked the LA Times and guess what? Yes, a Rhodes Scholar! I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head at this young man’s determination, which was bolstered by his support system, yet, not in any small part by his confidence in himself. Or “The Rose that Grew from Concrete,” as he likes to quote Tupac Shakur.
So, here it is, a young man—a good kid, who I thought may have bitten off a little much and perhaps was just a little too confident in his abilities, was just awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship! That’s right, or as Eric Sondheimer, of the Los Angeles Times puts it, “(Caylin) gets to study next fall at Oxford University in England. He has a 3.9 grade-point average. He represents the best in the student-athletes from Southern California.” Never doubt the power of Verb student’s dream. And, for goodness sakes, never doubt Caylin Moore!
So, I would like to take this moment to thank you, the donors of Verbum Dei. Because without your support, there is a strong possibility there would be no Caylin Moore or Chase Moore to read about in this glaringly bright and positive manner. Or in CeJai’s words “I am forever grateful to Verbum Dei and you, the supporters of Verb, in being such an important part of the formation of my sons. May God continue to Bless you as you’ve blessed the entire Verb community.”