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Dear Saint Patrick – Sean Conway ‘22

Dear Saint Patrick,

My transition into the Shamrock family was exciting and full of anticipation. I joined the football team my freshman year, and it played a huge factor in my fast-paced yet smooth start to high school. I learned how to use school locks earlier than everyone else, I memorized the school fight song, and, most importantly, I walked into the first day of school with sixty brothers from all over the city. Some people on that team who I met for the first time are some of my closest friends now. I felt at home at St. Pat’s since the first day, and that feeling has never wavered.

I started wrestling in second grade because my uncles, two former Shamrock wrestlers, convinced me to try it. They coached me for a few years as I progressed, and one of them followed me when I switched clubs to Team 312, the youth program at St. Pat’s. As a freshman, I started on varsity and took third place at the IHSA State Championships, and that was just the beginning of my success. I am so grateful for all the coaches, teammates, and other thoughtful people who helped me wrestle to the best of my ability and break school records. Because of St. Pat’s, I have the opportunity to continue my wrestling career in college.

Education is extremely important to my family and me, and St. Pat’s has done a terrific job of giving me the education I need. With a mix of rigorous core classes, fascinating electives, and faith-focused courses, I am always interested and challenged each day at school. By the time college planning came around, I was fortunate enough to be able to consider many of the best universities in the nation. The University of Chicago was one of my top choices, and that is where I will continue my education in the fall. Because of my parents, my fantastic education, my wrestling skills, and lots of people leading me in the right direction, I received a four-year full-tuition scholarship to the University of Chicago.

The people of St. Pat’s and the community we have is the reason why this institution is still going strong after one-hundred-sixty-one years. My teachers and coaches do not come to school because it is their job; they come because they want to help young men grow and succeed in their endeavors. They want to give each boy the tools he needs to become a man and do well for himself at St. Pat’s and forever after. These men and women are incredible role models, personable people, and the main reason why this high school is as great as it is. Nothing was given to me on a silver platter, but my support system throughout the school guided me to reach my far-fetched goals.

The Catholic faith is a staple in our lives at school. We connect with God in deeper ways than just daily religion classes and all-school masses. The best singular experience Saint Patrick High School offers is the Kairos retreat. In early August this year, I went on the first Kairos since 2019. Mr. Raho and Ms. McBride were determined to bring it back, and I am so glad they did. I was fortunate enough to lead the next Kairos, and at this point in my life, I can say that leading that Kairos retreat is my greatest achievement.

Saint Patrick High School is good at giving its students the best opportunities to succeed in and after high school, but this school does much more than that. The music in the main lobby before and after school helps me make my way to class in a good mood. Intramurals get heated and competitive, especially with the lunch crowd watching and cheering from the stands. I love catching up with friends who are not in my classes during the passing periods. My teachers and the administrators are always genial and engaging whenever I see them. Sporting events at school with our loud student sections are electric and unmatched.

Saint Patrick High School is a place where students can really enjoy themselves and have lots of fun in their last years before adulthood while preparing to become one. My father is a St. Pat’s graduate from the class of 1988. He is the security guard at school on his days off and working at St. Pat’s is his favorite side job. He gets excited to come back to his alma mater and relive his glory days. Much has changed since 1988, but my father says that it is still the same grand old school that he remembers. When he watches students interact and joke around, he cannot help but smile because he is able to see the living and breathing Brotherhood that he experienced and that his son has had the pleasure to experience as well.

Saint Patrick High School, thank you for helping me succeed in the classroom, on the mat, and elsewhere in my life. Thank you for expanding my horizons so I can excel in the future. Thank you for challenging and supporting me during each step of my journey. Above all, thank you for making my time at Saint Patrick High School an experience I will cherish forever.

With gratitude and love,

Sean Conway ‘22

To read the other Dear Saint Patrick letters from the Class of 2022, click here.

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