Dear Saint Patrick – PJ Summers ‘22
Dear Saint Patrick,
When I first walked into your doors as a freshman, I was a naive young kid who was excited to start a new chapter of his life. I had no idea the lasting impact that you would have on me and that these would become the most successful and rewarding four years of my life. St. Pat’s environment is one of a kind and it is that environment specifically which has allowed me to thrive and to be set up for success in the future. I was not sure at first if I wanted to go to Pat’s but then I went to a Shadow Day. I shadowed my older brother, Jack (Class of ‘21), and I immediately knew that this was the place for me. While I had attended many football and basketball camps, I was always intimidated and scared that the big high schoolers would not like me. That was proven wrong immediately when I stepped in the door, and I felt the love and acceptance pouring out of the students. I wanted to be a part of that for the next person who was in my shoes and I came to Pat’s. The decision to come to St. Pat’s influenced me holistically. It shaped me into the person that I am today which I proudly consider to be the best version of myself.
St. Pat’s is a school, of course, and it has most definitely done its job academically to prepare me for the next level of education. I was lucky enough to score in the top percentile on my entrance exam and was promptly placed in an all-honors classes schedule for my freshman year. This course rigor, which has only increased as I have grown, has taught me hard work, overcoming adversity, time management, and persistence through tough times. I have always been in all honors classes and as I got older, I began to take as many AP or PACC classes as I could to learn as much as possible while also keeping an optimal level of challenge. The wisdom I have learned in these classes has prepared me for the next chapter. Whether it was psychology, statistics, public speaking, or anatomy, I learned many life lessons that taught me not only knowledge, but also practical skills to apply to the real world. With these skills I have learned in the classroom, I am going to the University of Notre Dame next year and am excited to pursue even more learning opportunities.
While academics are vital to the high school experience, I also would like to talk about all of the activities that I was involved in outside of the classrooms. When I was going through orientation and my first few weeks of school, I kept hearing the same sentiment repeated over and over again; “Get involved with as much as you possibly can, you won’t regret it.” I figured that this was just a cliche saying that may not apply to me, but I tried it out anyway. Thank God I did! Being involved was the single most influential aspect of my high school experience and it is not even close. Over my time here I was a member of both the football and wrestling teams for four years, and a captain of the latter. The bonds that I made with my teammates are some that are the strongest in my life and that I know I will keep and cherish for years to come. Additionally, I have been involved in nine clubs, held leadership positions in three, and even founded one. There is a groove for everyone at St. Pat’s and I was lucky enough to be able to meet an extremely wide and diverse array of the student body through all of the extracurricular activities I was involved in. So yes, I think that I would have to agree, get involved in as much as you can because you will not regret it.
Academics and extracurriculars are amazing but there is one aspect I have barely touched on that deserves its own paragraph. You probably have heard the word ‘Brotherhood’ thrown around a lot whenever St. Pat’s is mentioned, and it may seem just like another word thrown into the mix. But trust me, it is real and it is special. There is a bond between all of the students of our school that extends beyond just the hallways. When you go to St. Pat’s, you will find a group of people that fit your personality perfectly and every student is very welcoming and accepting towards any other. I have seen this Brotherhood grow to an even deeper level through our senior retreat, Kairos. I went once as a retreatant and another time as a student leader and both times I left feeling closer to my fellow Shamrocks than ever before and an invigorated sense of Brotherhood. What goes on up at Kairos must stay there, but every current and former Shamrock that has been on it knows how vital it truly is to not only grow as a person but grow as a brother to all your classmates. One more phrase that gets said a lot around school is, “Be your brother’s keeper.” This is the perfect capstone on my thank you to this school because that is truly what sets it apart. If any Shamrock is being picked on or seems to be feeling down, there will always be a group of his brothers there to stand up for him or to simply talk to him.
So thank you St. Pat’s for the knowledge I have gained, the moments I have experienced, the lessons I have learned, and most importantly the lifelong friendships I have made. I am very excited to head over to South Bend next year and start the next chapter of my life, but it is definitely bittersweet to have to leave these halls. I will remember my time here in Austin and Belmont fondly and I know that I will always have my fellow Shamrocks there for me every step of the way.
PJ Summers ‘22
To read the other Dear Saint Patrick letters from the Class of 2022, click here.