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Dear Saint Patrick – Eric Lis ’18

Dear Saint Patrick,

In reflection of the past four years of my life, I can say that my experience at Saint Patrick has been the most memorable and influential time of my life. I came in my freshman year as a confused 14-year old, worried about making friends and maintaining my character from grade school. Honestly, my experience was nothing that I expected when I walked in those doors on Belmont Avenue—it was so much greater than I imagined. The immediate bond between classmates, whether you knew them well or not, is something I will take with me for the rest of my life. Coming from St. Celestine in Elmwood Park, I was already used to the smaller class sizes and intimacy between my classmates. With an older brother already at the school, I felt ready to take on the next chapter of my life.

My involvement in Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, Student Council, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, tutoring, and mentorship programs has exposed me to a wide variety of students who I would not have otherwise interacted with. I have learned to cooperate with students of different races, ethnicities, neighborhoods, and families. The diverse environment of Saint Patrick High School taught me tolerance and acceptance between all people, and it taught me that we all have one thing in common—we are Shamrocks. It is for this reason that Shamrocks look out for each other in all that they do. Whether that is in the classroom, on the court, or on the streets of Chicago. As Coach Bailey, our basketball coach, famously says, “When you see another Shamrock in trouble on the other side of the street, you will run through traffic to help them, whether you know them or not.” This principle was implanted in me as a freshman, but I never fully understood it until now, preparing to leave. When I leave Saint Patrick, I will always look after a couple kids wearing SPHS hoodies. They are my brothers, no excuse.

Being involved in countless organizations and interacting with all kinds of people has taught me how to become a leader and a productive member of a community. To most of the lessons I have learned, I credit them to the basketball program. The coaching staff taught me determination, perseverance, and leadership. The program has pushed me and challenged me to the most of my abilities, preparing me for the difficulties of life ahead. I have learned how to work and bond with a small community of men and, hopefully, this will allow me to be able to work with a wider range of people.

Next year, I will be studying Biology and Psychology at the University of Missouri. I am excited to use the lessons I have learned at Saint Patrick High School in all that I do in the future. Unfortunately, these four years have come to an end, but I will never forget the all-important lessons that Saint Patrick has taught me.

Go Shamrocks!

Eric Lis ‘18

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