Episode Show Notes
We’re kicking off our new alumni podcast series with a FUN conversation with Mike Siciliano and two awesome alumni Andrew Buchanan (‘12) and Bradley Searle (‘11)! Tune in as Andrew and Brad chat about SFC memories, the foundations of life-long friendship, their career journeys, and just life in the “adulting” world. It’s a MUST listen.
Mike Siciliano, Upper School Dean of Students, has a long history with Sante Fe Christian, sitting in several roles including alumnus, US history teacher, and football coach. As a student, Siciliano felt he had teachers and coaches who personally invested in him and made a huge difference in his life. Now, he tries every day to continue that legacy for current SFC students, live up to the standard his teachers set for him, and have a lot of fun.
Andrew Buchanan, alumnus, graduated from SFC in 2012 and went on to Cal State Berkeley to study finance.
Brad Searle, alumnus, graduated from SFC in 2011 and went on to Westmont College to study business finance.
00:01:21 – Introductions
00:03:44 – Length of Andrew and Bradley’s friendship
00:04:33 – Individual journeys and why friendship has lasted throughout
00:20:55 – What skill or experience at SFC was helpful or grounding after graduation
00:29:41 – Adult mentors Andrew and Bradley still contact
00:34:57 – What about their friendship is the same and what is different
Mike Siciliano [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of our Eagle Perspective Podcast. I’m Mike Siciliano, Dean of Students of the Upper School. I am joined today by—I say this all the time—two of my all-time favorites, for reals, two alumni graduates of Santa Fe Christian, Andrew Buchanan, class of 2012, Bradley Searle, class of 2011. Welcome back to Santa Fe. What’s it like to be back here, first?
Bradley Searle [00:00:28] Wow, it brought back a lot of emotion, a lot of great memories, some not-so-great memories as I was driving up the road.
Mike Siciliano [00:00:40] You got to share one of each now.
Bradley Searle [00:00:42] Oh, man, where do I start? Great memories. We were talking about this last night. We used to go to Fry’s in San Marcos on Friday night as seniors, and I guess you were a junior. We’d bring freshmen guys. It was like a mentorship…
Mike Siciliano [00:00:57] Of course, you do mentorship at Fry’s.
Bradley Searle [00:00:59] Yeah. Where else? We had office chair races. We watched the same 30-second trailer over and over again.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:06] On all the different TVs.
Bradley Searle [00:01:07] Yes. It was great. There was a sound booth, and we did dance parties. It was such a dude thing. It was great. Good, clean fun. Go to In-N-Out or Chick-fil-A after. That was definitely one of the highlights. Lowlights—man, we’ll save that for later. Let’s warm up a little bit.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:22] What about you, Andrew? Obviously, your football coaches were one of them.
Andrew Buchanan [00:01:26] Yes, the best coach in North County San Diego sitting right across from me.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:30] Aside from that, what else?
Andrew Buchanan [00:01:33] I think I was saying sports. This sports environment here is incredible. Obviously, I did not play in college. I wasn’t this athletic prowess. The great thing about Santa Fe is that you can compete at a high level and get big championships. I’ve played in the CIF finals for both volleyball and football.
Mike Siciliano [00:01:53] Let’s not talk about how that one ended.
Andrew Buchanan [00:01:56] Just fond memories of bonding with teammates over that and the work, and sweat, and tears you put into that. It shapes you, and it’s fun to reflect back on those, and still remember the skills you learned from good coaches and other stuff.
Mike Siciliano [00:02:11] I was kidding about the coaches. I did ask you, Bradley, when you sat down. I said, “Did you bring your mom’s cookies?”
Bradley Searle [00:02:18] I did not. I thought about it on the way over.
Mike Siciliano [00:02:21] That was a miss.
Bradley Searle [00:02:23] I was like, “Should I turn around, go back and get them?”
Mike Siciliano [00:02:26] You should have. I could have waited. We could have started late.
Bradley Searle [00:02:29] Well, had I known that you’d be 10 minutes late, maybe I would have.
Mike Siciliano [00:02:30] Wow, called out. For people who don’t know, the Searle cookies are legendary around our place. If there’s a bag of those that comes to school, everything stops. You stop teaching. You just run before they… They’re pretty awesome.
Bradley Searle [00:02:45] They are sugary goodness. We actually won Senior Business Week because of those cookies. Well, that’s not completely fair. Cal Roberts’ dad owned Flippin Pizza, so we’d get pizza and cookies. I think my mom gave them to us for free. A dollar a pop with inflation.
Mike Siciliano [00:03:00] You basically got free pizza and free cookies. So, you have zero cost.
Andrew Buchanan [00:03:06] I think we did pizza too for our business and also won.
Mike Siciliano [00:03:09] You looked up to him so much.
Bradley Searle [00:03:13] His mom also makes great cookies.
Andrew Buchanan [00:03:12] We delivered Starbucks to the local pizza shop.
Mike Siciliano [00:03:16] I do remember that. We had a group this year that came in that pitched coffee. We shared that with them. Like, “Hey, you’re not thinking big enough here. We’ve had groups in the past that would take business orders.” They were just like, “Oh, my gosh, we’re going to go next level.” You’re still inspiring…
Andrew Buchanan [00:03:33] I can’t take credit for that. I think that was my brother’s group that initially did that.
Mike Siciliano [00:03:37] Yeah. Well, he did all the good Buchanan things first.
Andrew Buchanan [00:03:41] That’s true. There’s middle child just forgotten…
Bradley Searle [00:03:45] Don’t forget Craig. We love Craig.
Mike Siciliano [00:03:44] Let’s start with why do we have the two of you here together. You guys were really good friends going back how far?
Andrew Buchanan [00:03:53] We’ve known each other probably since childhood. Both of us would say our friendship didn’t really blossom, as corny as that sounds, until the second half of high school. We were both really good friends with Matt Bennett, another great alumni.
Bradley Searle [00:04:08] We love you, Matt Bennett, if you’re listening.
Andrew Buchanan [00:04:10] He’s in Italy now. Just due to association, that’s where it started, then strengthened into college. Here we are today still.
Mike Siciliano [00:04:23] Same college, different college? Talk about your journey since Santa Fe. I think you guys are still really good friends.
Bradley Searle [00:04:32] We sure are.
Mike Siciliano [00:04:33] What I’m getting at is that is unique about Santa Fe. For my class, too. I’m, unfortunately, 10 years past you guys but still have a really good group of Santa Fe friends that I would say are some of my core friends, which I know is true for you guys. Maybe share a little bit about each of your individual journeys and why that bond has stayed that you created at Santa Fe.
Andrew Buchanan [00:04:56] Sure. I’ll start.
Bradley Searle [00:04:57] Go for it.
Andrew Buchanan [00:04:57] I went to Cal, or UC Berkeley, or however, you want to know it. I honestly didn’t know it as UC Berkeley till I went there. I always knew it as Cal for the athletics. Cal and UCLA. I went there. I remember we pretty early on had a scheduled call every Friday, I want to say, that we would just check-in, catch up on each other, how the week was, just some organic accountability.
Mike Siciliano [00:05:21] How did you think to do that?
Andrew Buchanan [00:05:25] I’m trying to remember what spawned that.
Bradley Searle [00:05:26] Andrew is one of the most intentional people I’ve ever met.
Mike Siciliano [00:05:29] That’s true.
Bradley Searle [00:05:30] It’s unbelievable. I sometimes pride myself on maintaining friendships long distance and having these scheduled calls, but he’s next level. He’s unbelievable. I was telling his wife the other day that I’ve had a lot of friends over the years. Friends come and go. You know how there are seasons for everything. Buck, as I call him, is one of the most intentional friends I’ve had, which is amazing.
Andrew Buchanan [00:05:57] Well, thank you.
Bradley Searle [00:05:58] It’s a good quality to have.
Andrew Buchanan [00:05:59] Continuing that, after college then moved out to Austin, Texas—hence, the reference to these [beverage container]—where I went on staff with Campus Crusade and Athletes in Action—Cru and AIA for short—at UT, mentoring student-athletes and fraternity guys. I did that for two years. Loved it. I think coming out of college I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I didn’t want the official nine-to-five desk job quite yet. I was really involved as a student when I was at Cal. It really was impactful in my spiritual journey, and maturity, and my walk with Jesus. Thought, “Oh, why don’t I take one to two years, move to a new city, and figure it out from there?” Backing up, Brad and I, when we were beginning to graduate, had talked about hey, should we move to a new city together after college and see what that is. I’ll kick it over to you because you’re a year older than me. It’s a funny story for where we came up with that idea and why we picked Austin.
Bradley Searle [00:07:08] I think it was… It must have been spring of 2015.
Andrew Buchanan [00:07:13] Correct.
Bradley Searle [00:07:14] Did you graduate in ’15 or ’16? You graduated in ’16.
Andrew Buchanan [00:07:15] Sixteen. So, it would have been that summer, leading up to it.
Bradley Searle [00:07:19] Wow, I’m getting old. I can’t even remember my years.
Mike Siciliano [00:07:22] Are you 30 yet?
Bradley Searle [00:07:23] Getting there. I’m knocking. Spring of 2016 we’re in a hot tub—which is how all good stories start—in Del Mar at an Airbnb. Your parents had rented it. We were hanging out. I was like, “Dude, I’m graduated. I live in San Diego. You’re about to graduate. You’re probably going to come back here. We both know we’re going to end up in San Diego. How can you beat this? But I do want to see what the other side of the 5 looks like.”
Andrew Buchanan [00:07:55] Just a little bit east.
Bradley Searle [00:07:57] We decided that’s what we were going to do. We took three weeks to pray about it individually. What’s our top three spots? That’s a lot of threes. This is very biblical.
Andrew Buchanan [00:08:08] Overlay was Austin.
Bradley Searle [00:08:10] Mine was Austin. I think Nashville.
Andrew Buchanan [00:08:13] I thought Boston was in there, too.
Bradley Searle [00:08:14] And Boston or Denver.
Mike Siciliano [00:08:17] All great spots. Very trendy. I love all those spots.
Bradley Searle [00:08:21] Came back. Both our number ones were Austin. I took a vision trip out there and fell in love. Moved out a few months earlier than you did. Both lived out there for about three years.
Mike Siciliano [00:08:32] What were you doing out there in Austin?
Bradley Searle [00:08:34] I went to Westmont, studied accounting. Unlike a lot of people my age, I actually used my degree for my job, which is crazy. I know. It’s wild. Studied accounting, came back here, got my CPA, then moved out to Austin, worked at a tax internship. I was two or three years out of college, and still, I was an intern, just because I kept on shifting. Do I want to do tax or audit? I remember coming back to Santa Barbara and visiting my first internship. They coined me the 40-year-old intern. I was like, “Okay, easy, guys. I’m still figuring out what I want to do. I’m only 22.” In Austin made a lot of great friends. I actually lived in a 3-story house with 24 other Christians.
Mike Siciliano [00:09:20] Oh, my gosh.
Bradley Searle [00:09:21] It was insane. It was essentially a Christian frat house for people that weren’t in college, post-college. We had gals on the first floor.
Andrew Buchanan [00:09:29] It was right next to campus, too.
Bradley Searle [00:09:30] It was about a mile from UT. Gals on the first floor, guys on the second and third. Met some of my best friends—Joanne, Amy, Drew, Scott, Tyler.
Mike Siciliano [00:09:37] You can name all the shout-outs.
Andrew Buchanan [00:09:40] Exactly. Not that many of them are going to listen to this.
Mike Siciliano [00:09:43] They’d better. You’d better forward it to them.
Bradley Searle [00:09:44] I will. I will now. Sorry for those that I forgot. Buck and I maintained a really good relationship through those three years. Let’s see. After the internship, I got a full-time job, which was amazing. I did it. The Lord provides. I worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is a Big Four accounting firm. Worked my butt off for a year and a half. Worked 60, 70, 80 hours a week. Got to the point where I had a little side business, a sprouted nut company, a healthy snack company, of all things.
Andrew Buchanan [00:10:19] True to Searle form, Searle family norms.
Bradley Searle [00:10:21] Always been on the healthier side of eating.
Mike Siciliano [00:10:25] Minus the cookies.
Bradley Searle [00:10:26] Exactly.
Mike Siciliano [00:10:27] That was a splurge. That’s why they’re so good, because all of the unhealthy energy went straight into it.
Bradley Searle [00:10:32] All of it. I was working 60, 70, 80 hours a week. It came to a head when I slept in my car. It was the filing day for a 10K. I lived about 45 minutes away. We were done at 2 am. I had to be back there at 9 am. I did the math, and I’m like, “It’s not worth driving home. So, I’m doing it.” I had my little Toyota Camry, curled up in the back, and then made a comment the next day. “If you guys notice I’m in the same clothes as yesterday, I did put deodorant on, and I did brush my teeth.” That was the time I knew it was time to move on. I didn’t want to be an investment banker or anyone where you work a ton of hours, you eventually make a ton of money. During those busy seasons, I would come home, and my roommates would be like, “Dude, you are a skeleton of yourself.” I just didn’t want that life.
Mike Siciliano [00:11:24] What are you doing now? How do you transition out of that life?
Bradley Searle [00:11:27] Great question. I moved out to Santa Barbara for a hot minute and worked for a medical management company. We managed different surgery centers in Southern California. We did all their books, and all their HR, and all these outsourced different tasks. Then I moved down to San Diego, and I was working for 24 Hour Fitness. I got hired in March of 2020, the first week of March 2020.
Mike Siciliano [00:12:03] Did you ever set foot in the building over there?
Bradley Searle [00:12:05] I did. For my interview went in, had a four-hour-long interview. I think it was half an hour with eight different people. I remember going back and just conking out on the couch. I was like, “That was terrible. I hope I did all right.” They ended up hiring me for whatever reason. Worked in the revenue department of the accounting department. Two weeks after I got hired, COVID hit. My new colleagues that I just met and fresh faces, all of a sudden I’m working from home and doing Zoom training, and all that stuff, which got old really quick. I did that for about a year, which was a great experience, with COVID, and revenue recognition. Also, they went bankrupt. Came out of bankruptcy recently, which was a lot of really good experience. I guess I’ll kick it over to you.
Andrew Buchanan [00:12:59] You didn’t say what you’re doing now.
Bradley Searle [00:13:01] I didn’t know if we were going there yet. I felt like I don’t want to dominate the conversation. I was at 24 Hour Fitness. We had been going into the office—me, and my boss, and my boss’s boss—a 200-person office, only three of us. It was great, though, because those were my direct reports. Had a lot of fun. Then they said spring of 2021 you can’t come in the office anymore. That was a bummer because I really enjoyed going in part-time, working from home part-time. Worked from home and was only working about four hours a day. I hope my bosses don’t listen to this. I kept on asking them, “What can I do? I need more work. I’m not working enough. It’s not good for a guy my age to work four hours a day but be paid a full salary.” I was working out…
Mike Siciliano [00:13:44] It sounds really rough.
Andrew Buchanan [00:13:45] He got really into CrossFit. Worked out twice a day. I was like, “That must be nice.”
Bradley Searle [00:13:48] I was a CrossFit coach on the side. I worked out about 10 times a week. Physically I was growing but intellectually, professionally not so much. I got a text from a friend and he says, “My friend has a really great business opportunity for you.” You guys know where I’m going with that, what I thought?
Mike Siciliano [00:14:10] Amway.
Bradley Searle [00:14:11] MLM. Exactly. I was like, “Dude, I love essential oils, use them all the time, but I don’t want to sling them full-time.” He’s like, “No, it’s a real legitimate business.” I was like, “Okay, hook me up.” The guy’s name is Michael Seifert, the friend of the friend. He started a company called PublicSq. It’s an app that we just launched. I ended up coming on board. It wasn’t Amway or doTerra.
Mike Siciliano [00:14:35] Well, we’ll see afterwards if you try to get us to sign up…
Bradley Searle [00:14:39] We do have an affiliate pipeline. I’m trying to grow my downline. PublicSq is a freedom-loving app. We are essentially a Yelp and a Nextdoor but for those with more traditional American values. I work with PublicSq, and it’s super exciting. I help out with finances, with the sales. We’re a team of around 100. We started a year ago. We’re growing quick. It’s been a lot of fun. I had the healthy snack business, and I had a partner, but mostly it was just me. It was hard being an entrepreneur with all the ups and downs and not really feeling like you had a team by you. Now it’s way different. We have a team; we have our six core; and then we have, like I mentioned, quite a few others that have been on this journey. It’s growing and we’re excited. We’re launching into other cities. I’m not going to sell you on our affiliate model. It’s a really cool job and has a purpose that’s deeper than selling gym memberships to people that don’t go.
Mike Siciliano [00:15:43] I was one of those people that didn’t go.
Bradley Searle [00:15:45] Well, thank you for your money.
Mike Siciliano [00:15:46] I think 24 Hour Fitness actually suspended my membership during COVID or something. I stopped paying. I’ve never called to actually cancel, but I don’t pay anything.
Bradley Searle [00:15:56] But they’re probably paying… Oh, they’re not charging…
Mike Siciliano [00:15:58] They’re not charging me. I don’t know.
Bradley Searle [00:16:00] We were supposed to put everyone on freeze until their club opened up and then start charging again.
Mike Siciliano [00:16:05] That’s interesting, because I think they just reopened the one closest to me, so maybe I should check. I should probably call.[crosstalk 00:16:11]
Mike Siciliano [00:16:14] Clearly, I’m not working out much, but that’s another podcast.
Bradley Searle [00:16:17] You got the gym over here.
Mike Siciliano [00:16:18] It’s there.
Bradley Searle [00:16:20] It is there, not that you use it.
Mike Siciliano [00:16:21] It’s not far from my office. Andrew, what about you? You were in Austin, and you were doing AIA.
Andrew Buchanan [00:16:27] How I got to Austin. Cool, I think, as Brad said, as we were praying about how to end up there. I think the Lord led us both there separately. I had got connected with the campus staff, or campus director, whatever title we want to call them now, there. They didn’t have a lot of fresh college grads who had come on staff together. They had some other males, but they were older. They said, “Hey, we’d love for someone to come out and work with the young men in college.” I felt that as like, “Okay, great. Let’s go for it.” Moved to a new city. That took me out there. I enjoyed doing that for two years. Loved it. I coined it as almost a “masters in evangelism” of just how do I learn to disciple others and share my faith in a relatable way, not a clunky, overly churchy vernacular, just in a common conversational way, learn how to talk about Jesus or explore other people’s spiritual journeys. What better way to do that than with college students because that’s when we’re all figuring out life? Great time to answer those questions. But after that, in that role, as much as I love working with college students, they’re also hard to work with. They’re very flaky, and scheduling’s tough. I’m a very type-A personality, three on the enneagram, very achievement-driven.
Mike Siciliano [00:17:48] You know I work with high school students?
Andrew Buchanan [00:17:49] Yeah.
Mike Siciliano [00:17:49] Just throwing that out there.
Andrew Buchanan [00:17:50] You know that very well. It’s probably a little bit tougher. I felt I know I want to go into the marketplace at some point. I didn’t want to leave Austin just yet. Like any person living in Austin, young millennial, I joined the tech scene. I worked for box.com.
Mike Siciliano [00:18:07] Obvious next step.
Andrew Buchanan [00:18:10] I was in inside sales for them, which was great training and experience. As I was working through that job, while I enjoyed it—neat culture—I knew software sales was very transactional. I wanted something that was a bit more relationship-driven. I wasn’t sure how much longer I wanted to be in Austin. That coincided with meeting my now wife. She’s from Austin. She was on staff with Cru, as well. We had worked there. Worked on the same team together. Then she, oddly enough, actually went to Regents School of Austin where Rod used to work.
Mike Siciliano [00:18:46] Our Head of Schools, Mr. Gilbert, was the Head of Schools before coming here.
Andrew Buchanan [00:18:49] Crazy small world. I think he came over to be Head of Schools here maybe right after I…2016 or 2017. I don’t know when it was, but it was when I was in Austin. We somehow put that together. Man, what are the chances of that? That was a neat connection. Anyways, to keep it brief, found a job out here that moved my wife and I out here. It’s with Marsh & McLennan Agency. I’m trying to think of the easiest way to say it. Risk management is the fun way of saying it. The less sexy way is I’m a business insurance broker. Handle all the liability for a lot of life science, digital health, and technology companies both here in San Diego but also throughout the country. Boston. Also, have some clients in New York. That brought us back here in fall of 2019. I’ve been loving that job. It’s fun. It is a sales role, but it’s much more relationship-focused as opposed to just slinging software, as they say in the technology industry.
Mike Siciliano [00:19:53] You have a little one.
Andrew Buchanan [00:19:55] Two little ones, an 18-month-old and a 4-month-old. We’re in that journey, which is super fun and exciting.
Mike Siciliano [00:20:05] Do you need some more coffee?
Andrew Buchanan [00:20:07] It’s funny. I still don’t drink coffee, even with two young kids.
Mike Siciliano [00:20:10] I didn’t start till 35.
Andrew Buchanan [00:20:11] I have a few years to get there. So, maybe. That’s been a fun new journey. I was reflecting even just driving up Academy Drive, as I did for so many years, “You thought life was so complicated then.” Now at this stage, just any stage as you go up, it’s just different seasons and the different stresses of life. Man, life was so simple in high school. I was stressing about taking an AP government test.
Mike Siciliano [00:20:37] It didn’t feel simple at the time.
Andrew Buchanan [00:20:40] Certainly, in the moment, because you don’t know any different. It’s just interesting to think as you go through life and just different journeys and seasons of certain things in school—middle school, high school—prepare you for what you go into.
Mike Siciliano [00:20:55] What did? What are some things for each of you in your Santa Fe journey that you look back on and you feel like that was really grounding? Maybe I didn’t even know it at the time, but it was actually a really good skill or very grounding that I still depend on.
Andrew Buchanan [00:21:10] Back to athletics, just a testament to you and other coaches. You guys cared more about molding me as a man as opposed to my athletic performance on either the court or the field, respectively for football or volleyball. I think I took that to heart. It wasn’t hey, I’m equipping you or pouring into you because I know you can perform well on the athletic field. It was more in addition to that, I want to make sure you’re growing in authentic manhood. There was some Bible studies that coaches did that, I think, really focused on that, and cared more about the character and development of us as opposed to just winning games or championships, I guess. I think, too, the authenticity of teachers here. We still have a friendship, and it’s 10 years since then.
Mike Siciliano [00:21:58] Which you’ve been very intentional about.
Andrew Buchanan [00:22:02] With what you said or some of the other coaches, it’s neat. I think that’s unique from my time in college or even friends in Austin. It’s unique to still have those relationships here that, I think, is a special thing about Santa Fe. I think for me personally—gosh, when was it?—I had a knee surgery gone wrong—gosh, when was that?—2011…
Mike Siciliano [00:22:25] That was your senior year, really. You had that big thing around your leg.
Andrew Buchanan [00:22:29] Knee surgery. To not get in the weeds on that, anyway, the surgery did not go as planned. Complications that made the recovery much longer prevented me from playing part of the senior football season. Right in the midst of that season, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, too. That was just a heavy year in the Buchanan family. We felt so loved and supported by the Santa Fe family, just with meals or people checking in. Still, when I come on campus, half the faculty ask, “How are you doing? How’s your mom doing?” That’s just neat that people still, I think, remember that and care. That’s shaped my perspective in life in a way. The community aspect here, the familiar aspect is something that I want to emulate with friends, like our friendship here with Brad, or just with others. I think what I took as commonplace or normal when I went to college at Cal realized, “Oh, this is not the normal high school experience with people.”
Mike Siciliano [00:23:33] People don’t talk about their high school in the same way…
Andrew Buchanan [00:23:33] No, certainly not.
Bradley Searle [00:23:36] They’re not friends with people from years ago like we are.
Andrew Buchanan [00:23:38] I would say that launched me well. I think just the biblical teaching and foundation. It’s hard. I was telling someone else here—Dawn—that I feel in high school and middle school you get a ton of good foundational teaching, the Bible verse memory, or just education in the realm of walking with Jesus and Christianity in that sense. I think once you go to college, it’s then the figuring out okay, am I going to choose to believe this that I’ve been taught, and gone to church about, or heard from my teachers, or am I going to choose to do something else. Certainly, every student has that opportunity that I think Santa Fe equips you well enough to, once you go off to college or after college, work out your faith in that way and determine it. But I appreciate the good, strong foundation that it comes from. Certainly, there’s pros and cons to that, because it can get a little numb or dumbed down, just because you’ve heard it so much. It can just feel mechanical. I think that was part of my journey in college was figuring out okay, is this moralism faith to me? Am I actually choosing it to be an authentic relationship with Jesus as opposed to just rule-following religiosity, here’s what I know the right things to do are? Am I doing that out of an understanding of my sin, and need for Jesus, and the redemptive forgiveness and grace He gives, or just because it’s pharisee-like, check the box?
Mike Siciliano [00:25:04] Sense of legalism. This is what I’m supposed to do.
Andrew Buchanan [00:25:07] Exactly. I think that’s a pro/con, too, any Christian school, that of how do you have the right headspace to understand that my wiring was very much more rule follower. I’m the best because I did everything right. That crumbles when I start to get through life and realize okay, God doesn’t love me because I did everything correctly.
Mike Siciliano [00:25:28] Or I’m doing all the right things, and I’m still dealing with this tragedy or this difficult thing. Wait a sec. I thought it was all supposed to work out great.
Andrew Buchanan [00:25:38] Well, that whole knee surgery recovery thing, that, for me, was where initially had that view of okay, well, God, I did everything right. Why didn’t I recover faster, or why didn’t I maybe get more playing time and more success on the field? I earned this, because I went through the trials of a tough knee surgery type of thing, and realizing that’s not necessarily how God works. For certain situations, sure, but did I choose to walk with Him through that? I feel that springboarded that experience for my journey with Jesus.
Mike Siciliano [00:26:07] Bradley, what about you?
Bradley Searle [00:26:12] That’s a really good point that Santa Fe Christian, for me, was building that foundation, but college was the proving grounds. You’re not in your house anymore. You have complete “freedom,” whatever that means, to do the right thing or to do the wrong thing. When I went to college, I had a very different college experience going to Westmont, which is essentially a bigger Santa Fe but with…
Mike Siciliano [00:26:36] Westmont and Berkeley, very different approaches.
Bradley Searle [00:26:39] Very different sides of the spectrum. Still, any college, you’re going to find temptation to go off the deep end, just give into your flesh. I experienced that. I relied on what I learned not only through Santa Fe but through my parents, as well. Growing up, being in their house for 18 years, seeing how they love each other, how they love God, how they read the word, how they pray, how they talk to God, and then going to college and being like, “Oh, man, I’m on my own.” Like Buck alluded to, “Is this my parents’ faith? Is this Mr. Litz, or Mr. Lyon’s, Mr. Kim’s faith, or is this my faith?” That was the decision I had to make when I went to Westmont. Ended up making the right one and saying, “This is my faith.” It hasn’t been a perfect journey since then by any means, but it was definitely a good experience to have that foundation and be like, “No, this is what I believe.” Those, like you mentioned, scripture memories that I can call to mind, that is the truth, not what you’re telling me to do.
Andrew Buchanan [00:27:43] Which in the moment, you’re like, “Why did I have to memorize this dang verse?
Bradley Searle [00:27:45] You’re sitting there but it’s wild…[crosstalk 00:27:47]
Mike Siciliano [00:27:53] I always say the same thing. For better or worse, most of the scripture that I know by memory I learned at Santa Fe. I don’t know if that’s an indictment of my failure to memorize stuff. But even the stuff that’s like, “I got to learn this in five minutes because there’s a quiz,” it comes back to you all of a sudden in crazy times.
Andrew Buchanan [00:28:09] Which I think is the age—middle school, high school age—just from the developmental standpoint, you don’t realize maybe how is this going to be applicable to me later in life.
Mike Siciliano [00:28:19] Teenagers never ask that question.
Andrew Buchanan [00:28:22] But it’s cool to see from the faculty standpoint or once you get even into college like, “Okay, I’m either really stressed about this, or I’m wrestling with… How do I navigate the party scene and hookup culture? What does scripture say about that?” There’s plenty of verses to reference from that. It’s like, “Okay, am I going to believe this or not, or just think this is an archaic verse from centuries ago type of thing?”
Bradley Searle [00:28:44] Going back to your original question, Mike, you alluded to a master’s in evangelism, I think you called it, in Austin. I would say I had an undergrad in discipleship with Chris White. Mr. White is an amazing man. He was probably only my age when I graduated. He was pretty young. I had him in eighth grade for science. He took a group of 10 to 12 of us and led us through those five years, eighth grade to senior year. We’d meet every week, and we’d go through the Bible. We’d ask him hard questions, and he’d be totally transparent and honest. He was like a brother to me but more important, he was a spiritual mentor to me. It really showed me the path of how do I lead other guys who are maybe a step or two behind me in their walk. Chris White, if you’re listening to this, love you. I owe you a call.
Mike Siciliano [00:29:38] So do I.
Bradley Searle [00:29:39] We all do. Let’s just get on the conference call right now.
Mike Siciliano [00:29:41] That’s actually a good segue. Who are some adults that were mentors to you that you are still connected with?
Bradley Searle [00:29:49] Chris is a big one, just because he was consistent. It wasn’t just eighth grade and okay, I’m going to move on to the next class next year. It was eighth grade through senior year, five years of pretty tough times. Those are some tough years for…
Mike Siciliano [00:30:02] For people who don’t know, that’s just a teacher doing something above and beyond their job description because they care, which happens here all the time. He doesn’t get paid extra for spending five years…
Bradley Searle [00:30:15] No, not at all. If anything, he was buying us pizza. We would go over to his house and just crash his place as smelly, stinky, rowdy 17-year-olds. There’s 12 of us and one of him. Sure it was herding cats at some point. He was really influential in my life. Fast forward a few years, I’d say there’s seasons for everything. I moved to Austin. Had a great mentor, James, out there. Moved back to San Diego. I have a couple mentors. One’s name is Don. He’s 50-something. He has kids my age. He’s a great guy. We meet every Tuesday morning. We’ve been going through Luke for the last couple years. We take it real slow, really dive in, which is awesome. He’s one of those guys who I can just call up and say, “Don, I’m experiencing this at work,” or, “I have to let someone go. How do I do that with grace and love?” or, “I’m really tempted by this situation. Can you speak into my life?” You were mentioning the question of how does this affect me when I’m older. That’s something that I am thinking now that I wasn’t 10 years ago. “If I make this decision, what kind of path does that lead me on?” Just someone that’s seen a lot more life, and that has loved his wife and loved God pretty much his whole life, it’s amazing to have that. It got to the point where I needed a place to live. He and his wife said, “Sure, you can live with us.” I stayed with them for almost six months, which they had never done to that point. We go to the same church. Just a true man of God that I want to be when I’m his age.
Mike Siciliano [00:31:52] Awesome. What about you? Particular adults from Santa Fe that you’re still connected with, present company excluded?
Andrew Buchanan [00:31:59] There you go. I would say, Doug Miller, the AD here. Reid and I have been childhood friends. Doug and Cami, specifically. I would say that they were like second parents to me. They came alongside us and were family through that season with my knee surgery stuff and my mom’s cancer in 2011. Just have been close with him ever since. That will be someone from here that still love to see and keep in touch with. Coach Rossetta would be another one. I don’t know if he listens to these. I doubt he would. Coach, if you are, shout-out for you.
Mike Siciliano [00:32:29] If he started listening, he’s not still listening.
Andrew Buchanan [00:32:32] Certainly. He definitely didn’t make it this far in. I think, too, similar to Brad moving to Austin, two people. One, he’s my now father-in-law, Warren. He worked with Cru, as well, for years. Even before I started dating Rachel, we would meet weekly. He’s a great, godly man of wisdom. Dave Michaelian, who I think you actually know from your USC days.
Mike Siciliano [00:32:59] He was my Campus Crusade director at USC.
Andrew Buchanan [00:33:02] Him and his family moved to Austin about the same time that I did. We got reconnected. He’s a family friend of ours. He did our premarital counseling. Still try to keep in touch with him. They’re going to be out here in the next few weeks, actually. Trying to think. Moving back here, that’s definitely something that I still am finding in the season with young kids, too. Just making time and availability for that is something that I want to be better at. There’s one-off catch-up every few times a year with some folks. It was obviously, my father-in-law and parents. Certainly still view my dad and father-in-law as good mentors. Others like Dave, I’m finding one here. There’s some great men at my church. That’s an area where I’m like, “Okay, I want to grow more like that,” where I can learn from Brad. That he has that steady meeting with Don is something that I’m like, “Okay, I’d love to get something similar to that.” As you go through stages in life, certainly, I see value in always wanting someone that’s a few years ahead that you can just ask questions from, because I’m in that stage of a young family. “Hey, who are some people that the kids are in the 5 to 10 range or soon to be teenagers?” just to see what were your parenting techniques, what were your discipline techniques, as we’re soon to be in that stage.
Mike Siciliano [00:34:22] Happy to share ours as examples of what not to do…
Andrew Buchanan [00:34:26] Hey, you got two girls. I have two girls, too.
Mike Siciliano [00:34:27] There we go.
Andrew Buchanan [00:34:30] Soon to be neighbors. We’ll come over and have plenty to talk about, I’m sure.
Mike Siciliano [00:34:32] I know. Andrew is moving a mile from me. You said tomorrow. It’s not today.
Andrew Buchanan [00:34:37] Big day. How old are your kids?
Mike Siciliano [00:34:38] Seven and four.
Bradley Searle [00:34:40] Well, there you go. You found your match.
Mike Siciliano [00:34:42] I don’t have answers yet, but I’ll gladly ask the questions alongside you. Maybe together we’ll find someone with the answers. You’ve now been friends for, gosh, probably 15 years.
Andrew Buchanan [00:34:55] At least.
Mike Siciliano [00:34:57] What about your friendship, thinking back to your time at Santa Fe, is the same, and what has changed?
Andrew Buchanan [00:35:02] I would say in a good and bad way. It’s gotten, obviously, deeper over the years just as we’ve gone through life together through certain seasons, through relationships, for sure. I would say in high school or even college… We’re both heavy competitors. I think a lot of our friendship was working out together or competing together, which was fun, but at the same time also trying to beat each other and find the glory in that, and I think we both…
Bradley Searle [00:35:30] You’re stronger than me, but I can jump higher.
Andrew Buchanan [00:35:33] Stuff like that. I think we both in recent years have come to the realization that it’s not any benefit to anyone. Let’s just encourage each other when we work out together or play beach volleyball as opposed to get really frustrated at each other and just try to beat each other.
Mike Siciliano [00:35:49] Who is stronger?
Bradley Searle [00:35:50] Oh, he’s stronger, for sure, any day of the week.
Andrew Buchanan [00:35:54] I think we’ve both had seasons in relationships. Pre-Rachel there was a girlfriend of mine that Rachel… It wasn’t Rachel.
Bradley Searle [00:36:04] We’re going here.
Andrew Buchanan [00:36:06] Brad wasn’t fond of either.
Mike Siciliano [00:36:09] I remember that. You didn’t tell me you had friends that weren’t fond of this person.
Andrew Buchanan [00:36:13] He’d say it now he’d rather bluntly just said it, “I’m not a fan of her,” just coming right at it.
Bradley Searle [00:36:20] Hopefully, there was some love.
Andrew Buchanan [00:36:21] Yeah. I think maybe the delivery wasn’t the best, but there was love behind it type of thing.
Bradley Searle [00:36:27] Is this turning into therapy?
Andrew Buchanan [00:36:30] We’ve already processed through that.
Bradley Searle [00:36:31] I lack tact.
Andrew Buchanan [00:36:32] Yeah. Just working through the tension of that, for sure. Just the stage we’re in now of the young professional careers we’re in and the season, married and got family type of thing of that. Just how do we continue to be authentic and check in with each other, of him asking, “Hey, how’s your relationship with Rachel going?” I think we still try to ask, “How’s your time in the word going? What are you learning?” Just basic questions like that that I think as men aren’t common questions that we ask each other or choose to, because we often hang on the surface level. Just to be intentional, and asking those, and going there. It’s easy just for the years of friendship that we’ve had just to coast and do shared, fun activities together as opposed to get on the heart level with each other.
Bradley Searle [00:37:21] Amen. I agree. All of what he said. No, I don’t have too much to add. Just piggybacking off what you said, it used to be a friendship where we were very competitive. We would also build each other up, but there was a lot of competition. Even, I remember, when we were dating, it’s like who’s going to date first, who’s got the prettier girlfriend, who’s going to get married first, and all this stuff. We’ve come to a point just with a lot of stuff in my life that’s happened and some stuff in your life, as well, that we’re here to build each other up. We’re on the same team. We have each other’s backs. There’s enough in the world that’s going to try to tear us down, especially as believers, that the purpose of our friendship is to glorify God and to bring us both closer to Him. We don’t do that perfectly, but we sure have a lot of fun chatting, and playing volleyball, and lifting weights.
Mike Siciliano [00:38:11] Thank you, guys, both. This has been a ton of fun. It’s pretty wild to think back to first getting to know you guys when I was first an employee here and you guys were in school. I think the vibe was actually pretty similar, but I’m glad it’s still there. This was a ton of fun. Just really proud of you guys. You represent our school really well. It means a lot that you’d come back and share a little bit about your journey since. Thank you.
Bradley Searle [00:38:35] Thank you for having us. It’s been an honor. I hope we did Santa Fe justice.
Mike Siciliano [00:38:41] You did great. Next time I expect cookies. I do expect a cookie next time.
Bradley Searle [00:38:43] I will bring those shortly or have my mom.
Mike Siciliano [00:38:49] All right. Thank you to those of you out there listening and/or watching us. If this is your first time joining us, thank you so much for listening to our Eagle Perspective Podcast. We have more alumni coming. We have other episodes that we’ve got posted to Apple Podcast, Spotify, and elsewhere where podcasts are available. Check us out. We look forward to seeing you next time.