Dear Saint Patrick – Trevor McLaughlin ’19
Dear Saint Patrick,
An amazing life is made up of millions of amazing and unforgettable moments. To me, St. Pat’s was just that, unforgettable. Even though my time as a student is drawing to an end, my time as a Shamrock is just beginning. These past four years flew by. It almost feels like yesterday I was sitting in Mr. Fleming’s Algebra I class. Even though I was a freshman surrounded by handfuls of students who, at the time, I had no idea who they were, in the next four years they would grow to become some of my best friends.
Whether it was on the court, in the pool, or in the classroom I can say with 100% confidence that I am a changed person, and for the better. Starting my freshmen year in 2015 I knew only the small bubble that I had been raised in all my life. Attending Saint Patrick gave me the chance to broaden my horizon. Meeting people from all over the world, anywhere from different neighborhoods to different countries such as Nigeria and Korea. It wasn’t just meeting these people that has shaped me into the man I am today but it’s the experiences and memories I have shared with them and hundreds of other students. A part of growing up is understanding others and learning to see a story from their point of view. To speak from the heart, St. Pat’s excels at this, with their yearly Kairos retreats students gain an opportunity to bond with their brothers and see that there is more going on in the world than just their life.
Being the leader of Group 4 on the December Kairos trip, the bond and friendships I had with my brothers grew even stronger and, even though I was supposed to be the one teaching them, I still managed to learn a thing or two from them. At the same time, I learned that not everything is given, some things you have to work for. Whether it be friendships, trying to make a team, or even academics. Everything in life happens for a reason. It’s during these revelations that I truly realized what is important. Academics, money, and social status are all great things but, to me, none of these can compare to a real friendship.
I’ve spent the past four years of my life with the same friends, through thick and thin, and they are still here. That’s one of the most amazing things about being a Shamrock, the Brotherhood. Constantly surrounded by people who have shared in the same experience as you have and wouldn’t want it any other way. This promotes a different kind of humanity; no longer surrounded by the hate or prejudice thoughts of society, or being judged based on your appearance. No, being a Shamrock means looking past a person’s appearance and really looking into who they are. Like I mentioned earlier, we have students from all over Chicago but that doesn’t change who we are as a school.
The day that I knew St. Pat’s was going to be the high school I would attend was when I shadowed my older brother Jack. I followed him around his normal school day, going into the classrooms, getting to meet his friends and teachers. Even though this was my first time shadowing any high school, I knew that none other would compete. Spending the day with Jack I got my first glimpse into the Brotherhood I had heard so much about. It is impossible to put into words how strong the bond I saw between every student was but if I had to describe it, I would say family. A family of students and teachers alike. Something I had never seen before and have still yet to see anything like it.
Seeing as how in only a couple months I will be beginning my new journey at Illinois State University studying Nursing, there is so much I have learned and come to realize. Sure I have been taught how to calculate integrals and see how blood moves throughout the body but I’ve learned so much more. Any school can teach you a math equation or a grammar concept but how many can teach you what it means to be a man? What school can teach you that memories are made with others and that life is only as good as those who are with you? Only St. Pat’s can, and they have been doing it for 158 years and will continue to do so for 158 more.
Next year I will become a Redbird but that doesn’t mean that I will forget my time at Saint Patrick. No, the memories I have made will stick with me forever. I have been given the opportunity to expand my education thanks to a lot of faculty members at Saint Patrick. One teacher who stands out the most to me is my freshmen Math teacher Mr. Fleming. I began my freshmen year in all College Prep courses. I was a bright student but not the best test taker so when the placement exam results came back I was placed accordingly. Mr. Fleming was the first teacher to take a chance on me. He stuck his head out there for me, vouching that I was an Honors worthy student and recommended that I be placed in an Honors level class. As the years have gone by, I have persisted and have managed to move myself into all Honors level classes. That is one of the great things about being a Shamrock, the staff works with you in order to help you grow not only as a student but as an individual too.
As my year comes to a close I am excited to start my new journey that awaits me, but it also pains me to say goodbye to my school and all the friends I have met along the way. However, I know that my life is on the right track thanks to St. Pat’s and all the memories I have made will stick with me wherever life takes me.
Trevor McLaughlin ’19