Dear Saint Patrick – Vincent Alunan ’19
Dear Saint Patrick,
As I unveil a new chapter in my life after high school, I would like to recall my amazing experience at this fine institution located at Belmont and Austin. It all started during my eighth grade high school search at Saint Matthias. I personally wanted to go to a Catholic high school because of the fine education and core values they offer. There were a vast array of options to choose from. Ultimately, I knew that Saint Patrick was the right high school for me because of the great experience I had at the Open Houses I attended, and I was inspired by the Shamrock student representatives that visited my grade school. I decided to choose St. Pat’s as my new second home for the next four years. I took the placement exam and went to the summer orientation. Then, the fall of 2015 arrived which marked the start of my freshman year of high school.
I have a sense of gratitude for St. Pat’s because the school helped me flourish academically. My academic experience has been outstanding as I’ve maintained high grades and been on the high honor roll throughout my four years. Due to the great teaching staff, I continue to love learning. In particular, my freshman math teacher, Mr. Fleming, displayed a genuine act of kindness that I still remember to this day. During the summer leading into my sophomore year, he sent me a letter through email about his experience teaching me. He applauded me on a year well done and shared some words of wisdom to guide me in my remaining years of high school. My favorite line from his letter was, “Be proud of the person you are and look forward to the person you are becoming.” That line struck me, and it helped me come to the realization that the teachers at St. Pat’s truly care about their students. I was delighted to read his letter and I took it to heart. I have always strived to improve and to challenge myself in the classroom. Starting out as a student taking all College Prep courses freshman year, I have excelled and moved up, taking more Honors classes each year. In addition, I also became a member of the prestigious National Honor Society. All in all, my experience in the classroom at St. Pat’s developed and challenged me to become the student that I am today.
Joining cross country was a great way to balance out my academic and extracurricular life as a student. My first few weeks of training were excruciating because my body had never gone through the regimen of running countless miles daily. I eventually came to the conclusion that cross country was the sport I would endure throughout my years at St. Pat’s. I strived to get better, practice after practice, and race after race. The cross country staff of Coach Zuniga and Coach Iliff instilled great discipline in all the runners on the team. My fellow runners and I had a tight bond. We all got along with each other and shared many great memories. One of those great memories included supporting our state qualifying runners at a Championship meet in Peoria. The team had a blast. We went bowling, ate at a buffet, went swimming and had a great time. As I got to my senior year, I was named team captain and shared the same Shamrock Pride with the underclassmen. I also joined other sports in different seasons such as swimming and tennis. I would like to give recognition of my gratitude to Coach Mary and Marty Gibson of the swim team and Coach Martin and Ebrom of the tennis team. They are fine and respectable role models in our Saint Patrick community. I would have never thought that I would actually partake in many sports during high school and I do not regret joining them.
The term “Brotherhood” really defined what the St. Pat’s experience was for me. I easily befriended my new classmates. Many guys were easy to talk to. The atmosphere at campus and sporting events exuded with Shamrock Pride. By taking part in our well-renowned “Stud Section,” present on the bleachers during football and basketball games, I appreciated the camaraderie that my fellow Shamrocks have with each other. I was actually the only guy from my grade school that attended St. Pat’s in the Class of 2019 and being in a place where making friends seemed easy was a good feeling. One of my first memories at St. Pat’s is when all the freshmen gathered inside the theatre to learn the Shamrock Fight Song. We sang the lyrics multiple times and continued to do so throughout our high school careers. Graduation may be the last time we will sing that song together as a class, but our Shamrock spirit and Brotherhood will live on. Also, the diversity of the student body is a trait I adore about the school. It is special that there are guys from all around Chicagoland I spend time with and I am proud to call my “Brothers.”
There were many classes available related to the business world. I took Microsoft Office Applications freshman year, Marketing in my junior year, and Accounting during senior year. Since sophomore year I was considering pursuing a career in Accounting. St. Pat’s offered many great resources such as teachers and counselors that influenced my decision. My Accounting teacher, Mr. Wojnar, explained the accounting concepts in ways where it was easy for me to learn. He demonstrated passion in teaching Business and he himself is an accountant. Brother David, my counselor, and I would have one on one conversations about my future career aspirations. He believes I am capable of achieving my goal of becoming a Certified Public Accountant. Their professionalism is noticed, and I am truly grateful that I was surrounded with such an amazing teaching staff. Furthermore, I am continuing my studies at DePaul University this fall. There, I will get involved in many activities similarly to what I did at St. Pat’s and will always mention and boast about my Alma Mater when asked.
DePaul and St. Pat’s have many striking similarities. Firstly, both are big name Catholic Institutions. Secondly, they embrace the diversity of the student body. Thirdly, they have a friendly and welcoming community. Lastly, both schools have top-tier education to be proud of. This is why I am choosing to study at DePaul.
In one memorable example of the Shamrock Brotherhood, my family and I were in downtown Chicago. We got into a water taxi heading towards Navy Pier. I was sightseeing and taking in the view of the lake when a man came up to me and said hello. It so happened that I wore a St. Pat’s shirt on that day. He asked me to sing the Shamrock Fight Song. “We’re a grand old school…” and he knew the lyrics too. In that moment, I knew he was a Shamrock. He mentioned he was an alumnus and we had friendly conversation. What makes it even more interesting is that he also went to DePaul University. There was a great sense of Shamrock Pride that made my day even better. The trail of connections St. Pat’s has left for me is strong. Many other alumnus come up and tell me about their experiences in times when I wear St. Pat’s apparel. It is true, “Once a Shamrock, always a Shamrock!”
It has been an enjoyable four years. Days are coming by in a rapid pace. Every class period I reminisce about my experience. Special thank you to all my teachers, coaches, counselors, and friends which made my time in high school amazing. St. Pat’s will always have a special place in my heart. It is a great pleasure to say that I am and always will be a Shamrock.
Vincent Alunan ‘19