Dear Saint Patrick – William McMillin ’21
Dear Saint Patrick,
I was extremely skeptical coming to Saint Patrick High School as a freshman. I came from a public school and had no experience with religion in a classroom. Little did I know the time I spent at St. Pat’s would change my life. I remember my first day walking in the door when I met Coach Luke. He asked my name and a little bit about my background as everyone was scrambling to get to classes. The next day Coach Luke already knew every freshman’s name. That small welcoming coming through the front door made all the difference. Every teacher pushed to get to know everyone and by the second week we were cracking jokes.
I had caddied the summer before freshman year started so I was somewhat familiar with golf. My grade school friend who had gone with me to St. Pat’s was extremely eager to join the golf team and encouraged me to join as well. I had only played three times before the tryout and was in no way experienced. Making the team was the biggest confidence booster I had ever earned. The memories we made on the golf course set the tone for the rest of my four years. The friends I made on the team are friends I know I will be with long after St. Pat’s.
The elementary school I attended was bordering the suburbs and I had only been familiar with being in that area. Edison Park was not diverse and I never thought anything of it. When I came to St. Pat’s, I had the chance to make friends with people from all over the city and all different ethnic backgrounds. I can call every student in our graduating class a friend and I am sure they can say the same. There was never a time where I felt talked down to. Everyone was treated with the same respect and valued each other like family.
Ms. Burkholder had one of the biggest impacts on my time at St. Pat’s. She was a new teacher my freshman year and had previously taught at an all girls school. Her biology class turned out to be one of the most engaging classes I have ever taken. She tried her best to stay away from textbooks and give us a more hands on experience. I remember our first week we were outside studying different ecosystems in the front yard. We later dissected crawfish and studied DNA. Science has always been one of my weaker subjects but that year I passed with an A+.
One of the biggest takeaways from St. Pat’s was my growth socially. My mom always tells me stories about how rigid I used to be in elementary school. I wanted things a certain way and would stray away from socializing because of my awkwardness. My freshman year I had around ten friends including the three that had come from elementary school. By senior year, I was friends with everyone. During passing periods I would greet everyone with open arms as opposed to my freshman year where I would stare at the floor. St. Pat’s allowed me to blossom socially and I feel extremely confident because of it. It truly helped me become the man that I am today.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you Saint Patrick High School!
William (Billy) McMillin ’21
To read more letters from the Class of 2021, click here.