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Dear Saint Patrick – Braden Kumiega ’22

Dear Saint Patrick,

Since I was a young boy, I wanted to attend Saint Patrick High School. Growing up there was always something special about the way my dad (David Kumiega, Class of ‘90), talked about the place. My older brother, Nathan (Class of ‘20), was the first to follow in my dad’s footsteps. I saw firsthand the instant bonds he made with his classmates and teachers. I could not wait for my turn to step into 5900 W. Belmont to experience Shamrock Nation for myself. It feels like just yesterday I was walking through the main doors for Freshman Orientation and freshman football practice. I was a tiny kid who knew nothing about the world. I was young and naive, but I was right about one thing: attending Saint Patrick High School was the best choice I have ever made.

We say it every day at St. Pat’s, but it is the most important thing I have learned over the last four years, Brotherhood. Being there for others. Each day, I have had the opportunity to talk with people from different walks of life – different neighborhoods, different ethnicities, and different family backgrounds. I have met kids from as far south as Hyde Park and as far north as Des Plaines. Every conversation has helped open my eyes to the world around me. I have learned that differences actually bring us together. Shamrocks are everywhere. As a Shamrock, there is an instant connection when you meet someone who has graduated from Saint Patrick High School. This is evident in the new Green and Gold Society where Alumni are serving as mentors to those who have recently graduated. I am very fortunate to be part of this program. From the moment I stepped into the building for the first time, I felt the love and Brotherhood that came with attending St. Pat’s.

In addition to the many relationships I formed, I was also exposed to a rigorous education. I was able to take dual credit classes that will transfer to my college. I believe this education has challenged and shaped me into a young man. Through my core academic and elective classes, I was able to explore my interests to better hone in on what I want to do after St. Pat’s. In addition to academics, I was taught how to take risks and trust myself. I was taught that mistakes will happen, and it is what you learn from those mistakes that are more important. I was challenged every day to learn something new about myself and others. It is these life skills along with the academics that have prepared me for life after high school.

Over my four years, I have been very involved in the school community. There are so many ways to get involved. One of the greatest influences on me was football. We practiced 6 days a week and lifted at 6 am before school. We put in blood, sweat and tears day in and day out. We won together and lost together. We were one family. A family that was there for one another no matter what on and off the field. Coach Guerra gave us three rules to live by: be early, be honest, and be accountable. These three rules will always stick with me as well as all the other lessons Coach Guerra taught me. We were taught not only to be a good athlete and student, but more importantly to be a good man.

Two other people who made St. Pat’s home were Ms. McBride and Mr. Raho. Although I have been in Catholic schools my whole life and was familiar with faith and service it was the two of them who truly showed me what it looked like. They led by example. I learned how to serve God, others, and myself through countless activities such as food drives, school events, being a part of the Liturgy Team and most importantly on a Kairos retreat. I experienced Kairos as a retreatant and retreat leader. The eight days spent at St. Benedict’s Abbey were some of the best of my life. I was able to grow as a person and help others grow because I trusted the process. I would not be the young man I am today without Kairos, and it will forever be in my heart.

I cannot believe my time at 5900 W. Belmont is coming to an end. As I am excited to see what the future holds, I am sad to be leaving the familiar halls of Saint Patrick High School. With that being said, I know the bonds I have made with my fellow Shamrocks will last a lifetime. I cannot wait to be able to give back to the younger generations, just as those that have come before me have. I would like to personally thank all the teachers, staff and coaches that have put in countless hours to make me who I am today. With their guidance over the last four years, I know I am prepared for success inside and outside of the classroom. Saint Patrick, you truly are a grand ole’ school as the fight song says!

Sincerely,

Braden Kumiega ’22

To read the other Dear Saint Patrick letters from the Class of 2022, click here.

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5900 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60634