Dear Saint Patrick – Gabriel Morales ’19
Dear Saint Patrick,
As I reflect on my time here over the last four years, I cannot help but feel that it passed far too quickly. I can still remember the day when Coach Bailey stood at the front of my grade school classroom and spoke to the boys there about what it was like to be a Shamrock. It feels like only yesterday when I decided to take the placement exam at Saint Patrick High School even though I was the only student from my school, Saint Frances of Rome in Cicero, to do so. After shadowing and witnessing the bond and excitement shared between students, I knew right away that this was the place for me for the next four years. Now, though, it feels almost impossible picturing myself heading to a different school every morning as I prepare to leave these halls and move onto college.
Though I was worried at first, I quickly got into the swing of things, plunging headfirst into living with a new routine, a new environment, and a new life. Over the last few years, I have had mostly Honors classes and, as such, have been alongside the same friends I met since day one. As we came together, sharing in our common experiences as students, laughing, cramming, and working together, I have formed strong bonds with my peers, and I have greatly enjoyed sitting side by side with them in the classroom day in and day out. Outside of the classroom, however, I joined as many activities as I could handle including: National Honor Society, Student Council, Model United Nations, Academic Team, Baseball, Spanish Club, Chess Club, and the Student Mentorship Program. In this multitude of activities, I learned what it meant to work together with my peers, especially in the rigorous gauntlet of Academic Team coached by Mr. Ebrom, where my teammates and I were pitched in tense matches of buzzer pressing and question answering. Through sticking with most of these activities over the years, I have come to earn multiple positions of leadership, including President of the National Honor Society, Vice President of Student Council, Head Delegate of Model UN, and Captain of the Academic Team. Not only would I enjoy my time in class or competition, I also enjoyed my time on retreat, meeting some of my closest friends while on the freshman service project and bonding with people I now admire while on Kairos.
My time among Shamrocks, be it during class, extracurricular activities, or retreats, has forged within me a strong sense of Brotherhood for others. I have spent four years at St. Pat’s, laughing and struggling with people from all over with many different upbringings, cultures, races, and creeds. Kinship can be found with anyone, and I am always fascinated when I can find similarities between me and someone I hardly know. I find myself learning more and more every day about my fellow Shamrocks, and it is truly amazing having the means to meet and become friendly with so many unique individuals. There is nothing quite like being beside other students of St. Pat’s, people that I know little, if anything, about and being able to come together in our most remarkable moments, be they Notre Dame vs. St. Pat’s games, sitting in meditation on retreat, or simply looking at the clock frantically as we scramble to finish a test we all dreaded. It is in our differentness and our struggles that we make up a strong community, dedicated to one another as brothers.
During my tenure in high school, I have learned the importance of three virtues: leadership, respect, and perseverance. I would find these all crucial for my term as the President of the National Honor Society, where my ability to coordinate and organize events was put to the limit. Oftentimes, it would seem as though I had hit a dead end and I would consider entirely scrapping ideas, despite my excitement for them, as I wanted to simply be rid of the responsibility that would come with it. However, with the guidance and support of the two amazing faculty moderators, Mrs. Fiorante and Mr. Ebrom, progress was made. Most notably, we managed to host a celebration for Pi Day this year where students could donate money and enter a raffle in order to pie a teacher in the face. I would like to give a special thank you to Mr. Ebrom, Mr. Stopka, and Dr. Iliff for volunteering for the event. They made the celebration memorable and through their selflessness, we raised money for cancer research and had a great time with my faux pies in the meantime.
Next year I will be attending the University of Chicago with a History major, hopefully moving into Law afterwards. While I was already fascinated with the subject before high school, taking Mr. Craine’s AP US History and AP American Government classes solidified my interests. Every day, we took notes in his class on the many historical events that have shaped our nation, all the while diving deep into the background rather than just taking these events at face value. His lectures and his lessons inspired me. I learned that oftentimes, while it may seem that our country is entirely under the whims of big people we may never know, people always have a say and it is important that they use their voice.
Gabriel Morales ‘19