“Wide-eyed” frosh begin their journey
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The Class of 2022 began its four year journey to graduation as freshmen disembarked from buses, vans, trains and cars for the first full day of classes on Monday, August 20.
Representing 97 grammar schools, 61 zip codes and unlimited dreams, 162 freshmen trekked up to the freshmen lockers on the third floor to unload backpacks and get down to the business of becoming men of Carmel.
For most freshmen, the first few days seem to have gone well. Andrew Fedyk, a graduate of St. John of the Cross Grammar School in Western Springs, called the first day “easy,” and following in the footsteps of his brother Alex ’18, sees MC as “a great fit.”
Two other freshmen also following older brothers to Mount Carmel are Ahman Raoul, from William H. Ray School, and Julian Franco, from St. Nicholas of Tolentine. Like Fedyk, they both found the transition to be smooth.
Raoul already has gotten involved with the golf team, and has set his sights on someday attending “Fame U” (otherwise known as the University of Florida). Franco says so far he “loves” his new teachers at MC, and hopes they will help him achieve his goal of attending the University of Notre Dame.
While many freshmen seemed to breeze through the first week of high school, some admitted that they experienced a bit of nerves.
Justin Carney, from St. Thomas the Apostle School in Hyde Park, was nervous about finding his classes, while Joe Bird (St. Catherine of Alexandria) confessed that he got “totally lost.” Those first day glitches did not deter either student, however, and Carney finished up his first week excited about meeting new friends and joining activities.
While many freshmen are “legacies,” (sons or brothers of MC alums), a variety of factors influenced their choice of Mount Carmel.
Peter Navarre, from Old St. Mary’s School in the South Loop, appreciates the combination of academic and athletic success that is part of Mount Carmel’s tradition. He plans to participate in baseball and wrestling, and he hopes to add to the schools many state championships.
Another freshman with aspirations for a championship is Owen Duignan, from St. John Fisher School. Because his dad is an alum, Duignan already had MC on his radar, but stated that his interest was heightened when he “saw the newly renovated classrooms’ in the Main Building.
Perhaps summing up the general attitude best, freshman Ben Antonietti (son of faculty member Mark Antonietti ’84) said that what makes MC the right choice is the mix of “fun and good education.” He likes the fact that classrooms feel “relaxed, not too serious.” Still, he has set high goals for himself in freshman year: earning straight As, while participating in football, wrestling, and lacrosse.
From the perspective of faculty and staff, the Class of ’22 already is making a positive impression. Mr. Pete Kammholz, in his 38th year at MC, was quick to note there were “lots of smiles,” even if the freshmen were still “a bit wide-eyed.”
Mr. Dan Haggerty ’11, who teaches and coaches freshmen, observe that they seem to be “a good group – attentive and hard working.”
Mr. Lorenzo Nunez, Assistant Dean of Students, noted that he’s seen “a lot of positive energy” and “a strong desire to be at Carmel,” while Mr. Bill Nolan, in his first year as Assistant Principal (but with 27 years experience at MC) observed that compared to some years, this freshman class seems very social and interactive. Nolan hopes to see them “thrive and grow” over the next four years.
Mr. Mike Minogue ’83, who is in his 20th year teaching and 22nd year coaching, feels that part of the positive energy is the result of Expedition MC, the summer orientation for freshmen. Minogue feels that program, held in late June, helps freshmen bond and overcome anxiety.
One individual who has lots of contact with all students is Mrs. Laura Mazurkiewicz, the Administrative Assistant in the school office. After 18 years on staff, she still marvels at the many reasons why students from all over the region choose Mount Carmel. She pointed out that for some, the transition is difficult, but expressed the hope that they (all) “find a way to be a part of the Mount Carmel community.”
(Contributing to this story: Marcos Cid ’20, Nick Gulotta ’20, Miles Hoey ’19, Matthew Martinez ”19, Kristian Rokita ’19, and Trent Smith ’20)