Dear Saint Patrick – Samuel Correa ’19
Dear Saint Patrick,
Choosing to attend St. Pat’s was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made. Two uncles and two cousins attended St. Pat’s and each said it would be the best decision I would ever make. Not only did I have family to attest for this great institution, but I had first-hand experience. I was first immersed into the Shamrock environment at the age of 7 when I was signed up for Shamrock Wrestling. I became very comfortable with St. Pat’s, but it was not until sixth grade when I attended a St. Pat’s vs Notre Dame game that I knew this would be my future home. The passion and enthusiasm of the student body allowed me to fall in the love with the school. After numerous camps and Shadow Days I knew it was true love. The immediate feeling of comradery and academic excellence gave me confidence that each of my family members would be correct.
I stepped through the Belmont doors shy as a social person, but confident as an academic student and athlete. So, my father strongly recommended I completely immerse myself in the school community. I joined every sport or club I could. I was a part of the Debate Team, Spanish Club, Model UN, baseball, and basketball. It was these sports and clubs that helped me learn how to interact with new people and quickly see them as brothers, but it was discussion in the classroom of race, political views, economic status and religious beliefs that taught me how to approach an individual or group with confidence and conviction in my words, and also how to disagree and continue in discussion without insolence or immaturity. Any fear of social interaction was washed away after four years of embracement by faculty and students.
As a competitor I was always confident, but walking into the St. Pat’s baseball program I’ll admit I was especially arrogant about my abilities. It didn’t take long for my ego to take a hit. The varsity baseball coach, Daniel Kusinski, put me on the sophomore baseball team as a freshman and challenged me to succeed at a higher level. I will forever be grateful for this because it taught me how to fail. I struggled mightily that year, but Coach continued to stick with me. This gut check was humbling. I learned that spring that I was good, but so were many others. Now what plan was I going to create in order to put myself in a position to be considered great. Saint Patrick High School not only fostered me into a socially confident young man, but taught me how to acknowledge an obstacle and create a plan to overcome it.
I stated earlier that a main reason I enrolled at St. Pat’s was because of the obvious sense of comradery throughout the school environment. Here we call it “Brotherhood.” As a Hispanic student I walked into the school as a minority. There was always a small fear in the back of my head that the color of my skin would interfere with the tremendous experience St. Pat’s had to offer. But I would soon meet friends from all types of backgrounds and would learn that one of the special parts of St. Pat’s is the total embracement of all these qualities by students. This theme of Brotherhood was never more evident than at our Kairos retreat. As individuals we were put in a position of complete vulnerability, but each of us welcomed our brothers with open arms. The loyalty within the Shamrock family is something not many people can be a part of, but it is something I could not be more proud of.
Through experience I have learned nothing hits as hard as life. Our lives are constant struggles. A moment that truly embodies our community was during my first semester at St. Pat’s. The tragic death of my student teacher caused pain to so many. I, like many others, was in complete shock. We were hurt, but we took on this pain as a family. We came together as a school community in prayer, but also in celebration of a great Shamrock. The morning after his passing the student body put together a Mass in the Chapel to honor him. The turnout was tremendous, and was just another example of the Shamrock Brotherhood and family.
The famous Rocky quote says “It’s not about how hard you hit, but it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” As an 18 year old I have endured my parent’s divorce, two grandparents’ deaths, four changes in living locations. We have all endured pain in our lives, but I leave St. Pat’s ready to combat life. Ready to persevere through life’s struggles and become successful. Most importantly, I have full confidence that if in those times I do seek support, I know my brothers will be there to combat life with me.
Sam Correa ‘19