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As most of you will come to realize, if you have not already,St.Francis Xavier prides itself on being a community. Some jokingly call it a cult. Others fondly reference the people thatthey connect with here as family. In some literal families, the ties to St.FX run deep, and sometimes attendance runs generations. In searching for Xaverians with strong X-men ties, I got an email from a family that has more X-rings than one can count on both hands.


The Macdonald-Tracey family has a long history of X attendees. Patti-Anne Tracey, the most recent recipient of an X-ring, will graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration this class of 2021. Her siblings Grant and Caralena both hold degrees from St.FX as well, in Business Administration (2017) and Nursing (2020) respectively. The Xaverian spirit as it turns out may in fact run through the blood of this family as their parentsmet while attending St.FX themselves! Both Terese and Alan were in the Bachelor of Science in Physical Education program when they met, and graduated in 1985. In keeping with the Xaverian legacy of the family, Alan returned to St.FX for a Bachelor of Education, class of ‘87, and loved it so much he took his Masters in Education here as well! In 2005, Alan marked the end of a whopping 3 degrees at St.FX. 


Today, the true matriarch of this family, Patti-Anne’s Nana, Velma MacDonald, carries on a tradition that her and her late husband, Allister, shared – buying each of their children’s and then grandchildren’s X-rings. Thus far, 14 X-Rings have been received. Though Velma did not receive an X-Ring herself, as she received a St.Martha’s School of Nursing Ring, the Xaverian tradition indeed began with her. Velma’s brother’s also attended X, and Patti-Anne recalls fond memories of her great-uncle telling stories of being on the very committee which designed our current X-Ring. 


These, one could even say legendary, Xaverian stories told by X Alumni about their days here must float easily over campfires and family gatherings. Patti-Anne notes that her coming here was not written in stone however. She asserted, “I explored other schools both academically and athletically, and I was always encouraged like my siblings to make my own decision. I debatedwhether I wanted to go away for school or stay in my hometown. I felt like whatever path I decided to choose, I was going to stick with it, make the best of it, and I knew it could be an incredible experience if I made it that way. After weighting out the pros and cons of multiple schools, I knew deep down, I could not give up on my dream, as StFX has always held a special place in my heart, while knowing in the back of my head I could remain close to my family too.”


On Christmas Day of her senior year in high school, Patti-Anne revealed to her family that she had signed with St.FX Women’s hockey team and that ultimately she too would be joining the Xaverian family. Growing up, aspiring to play AUS, and desiring to join so many of her family members in the Xaverian experience, in just a few short months that decision will culminate in her graduation.


Note from the author: Someone nominate Velma MacDonald for an X-Ring! I think buying 14 of them qualifies her 👏🏼

In the Community On Campus