Dear Saint Patrick – Daniel Llamas ’20
Dear Saint Patrick,
My first true introduction to Saint Patrick, shadowing my brother during his sophomore year, highlighted to me a profound relationship to his classmates and teachers above all else that loud and rowdy day. When I first arrived at Saint Patrick, it quickly became clear to me that academics was not a solitary effort. Students and teachers alike were a part of an intangible support system weaved into the very fabric of the school. Although counter-intuitive, this culture helped me learn autonomy, as it encouraged an individualistic focus on my educational endeavors. As I explored personal academic interests I was also pushed to develop personal strategies and techniques to replace the support network.
Not long after beginning my freshman year, I auditioned for the fall play, and I was welcomed into a brand new community. A nervous freshman, I quietly looked towards the upper classmen for guidance and learned the importance of commitment from their constant determination. This blind determination helped me throughout my years, whether it was to stop procrastination on important assignments or more personal such as struggling with emotional hardships throughout the years. I have become determined to be the man that those seniors my first year were, and to be able to help the growing boys to come. This emotional growth of progressing forward culminated in my experiences with the other St. Pat’s guys on retreat. Hearing their stories, being open to new relationships, and self reflection lead me to understand that the commitment I had in previous years was quickly developing into a sense of responsibility. I realized I was truly a part of a community, my family, my class, and my school. Being a part of this community gave me a sense of responsibility in relation to others, everything I did, every person I interacted with, it had a renewed purpose.
This responsibility I found myself rooted to was itself rooted in a certain inherent foundation between the people I find at Saint Patrick. The invisible cord that lets guys make friendships from nearly no shared past together is an underlying feeling I had every day at Saint Patrick. Faces and names I might not see throughout my daily schedule were faces and names that become familiar, along with jokes and smiles, as we grew to know each other. This quiet inspiration to get to know one another is the idea I think of when I hear the words, “brotherhood.” I cannot think of a better definition for a brother than those who are always ready to be one.
Through Saint Patrick, I have learned guiding principals for life. Among these principals is proper preparation. Life is constantly full of important events and opportunities, and prior preparation helps one immensely. Constantly setting oneself up to do well leads one to do well. Another principal for my life is to help others as I am able to. Saint Patrick has lead me to develop a strong sense of empathy, and with it, a necessity to help others when I can. Life, like education, is no solitary effort, and living alongside others is an invaluable skill to have. However, I find the best lessons I have learned from Saint Patrick to be intersections of other lessons, as I witnessed firsthand. Before my brother, my first introduction to St. Pat’s, graduated, he gave me advice to guide me through my remaining years. This advice was a combination of what he had learned and advice he had received. Now, as I near graduation, I find myself doing the same. I find myself helping the underclassmen in whatever way I can, often giving them advice on how to prepare. This chain of preparation, or, more accurately, this chain of helping others prepare, is a manifestation of prior preparation and a will to help others.
This chain of preparation will likely come into use in my life quite soon after high school. With help from a variety of people, including ones at St. Pat’s, I have been awarded the Evans Scholarship. As a part of receiving the Evans Scholarship, I will room at my university’s Evans House. This house will be a close knit community and is sure to have a similar sense of helping others prepare. Soon, quite likely sooner than I will even realize, I will be in the position to once again be giving advice rather than receiving it.
Understanding empathy was essential to me becoming the person I am today. Others have told me that I am a very patient person, able to deal with others with a cool temperament many others could not sustain. However, development of empathy, truly understanding what another must be feeling and thinking only displays to me that we are too rash to be brash in our dealings with others. Witnessing these situations has lead me to become a person who focuses on kindness and responsibility, and it has made me a better person, a better man, as a result. This development of empathy is what I have learned at Saint Patrick, especially by the people I have met. Just as I have been influenced by the world, I hope to give back later in my life, making it a better place.
Daniel Llamas ’20
To read other Dear Saint Patrick letters from the Class of 2020, please click here.