The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

Surrounded by my brothers: a senior reflection

Graduate Jack Breakey signs off from The Caravan
Colleen Breakey
My time at MC was more than a rock and roll journey, but it helped me understand myself and how to prepare for the future.

In grade school, I was given a choice by my dad, which his own father gave him: “You can go to any high school, but it has to be Mount Carmel.”

I graduated from St. Cajetan School in Morgan Park on the South Side of Chicago. It was the middle of COVID-19, and I was one of four boys who came to MC from there during a time when we were still wearing masks. I knew no one else coming in, and I was never really close with the guys I came with.

The reason for coming to MC wasn’t for athletics but just to follow a family heritage. Besides my father, all of my uncles and my cousins graduated from MC. The only real person I knew coming into MC was my aunt, Mrs. Maureen O’Donnell. She was working as a teacher in the McDermott-Doyle Program at the time, and even though I was in that program, I rarely saw her because she did not teach freshmen.

Having to deal with COVID during the first two years at MC was challenging. When we had classes on Zoom, I couldn’t handle it. The pandemic was probably one of the lowest points during my time at MC where I just kind of felt alone and honestly trapped by restrictions.

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In my sophomore year, everything changed because most of the COVID restrictions were lowered and normal football season was back. This is where I got involved more in Caravan Media Group. I worked around great guys like Noah Sanchez ’22, who taught me how to work as a producer. One of my best memories was during my sophomore year during a playoff game against Batavia. Fourth quarter, with no time on the clock, MC had the ball, and the team was in the end zone. It was a miracle to watch Denny Furlong run outside and somehow make it in to score, causing Barda-Dowling Stadium to explode. It was the only time I ever saw our fans rush the field, including the guys who were working on the roof for media. I was the only man still left on that roof as everyone ran down to celebrate. 

My dad, Tom Breakey ’82, and I attend a Caravan football game during my sophomore year. (Jack Breakey ’24)

My junior year felt like I was at my peak at MC, watching the team go down to the University of Illinois to win a state championship. Junior year is when I became the head producer. This is where I began to teach guys how to do the job, and somehow I got involved in Model United Nations here and became a manager for MC Lacrosse. I particularly liked Model UN. It was a club of maybe five guys, and only three actually showed up to a Model UN conference. Although we maybe did like five events a year, I still had a blast with it.

My senior year, though, was the best time I could even have. It was pretty rare for me to leave campus at 2:40 dismissal this year. I was always busy and never had any personal time or even time for homework. I thought Senior year was going to be a breeze, but it has felt harder than my junior year. 

Luckily there was a lot of good stuff that came out of my senior year, like watching MC football go back-to-back in the state championship. This is where I found my new love for photography. For the whole football season, I worked with a camera on the sidelines and had a blast doing it. In fact, I bought my own camera in the spring. After the season was up, I watched and took photos of MC basketball making their way to the State Championship. Although they lost, it was a great experience to watch my brothers get that far. Honestly, 

My experience as a Kairos leader is a factor in this enlightenment. Even though I had to babysit mostly juniors, it helped me understand this brotherhood around MC. It helped me understand what it means to be a Christian and how to love others. Regardless of what class level you are, Kairos grows classmates into some of the most trusted men, making us brothers. MC is that other family I have.

After four years, I finally understand what this place, Mount Carmel, is. The mission of MC isn’t academics or athletics but to create men and a close brotherhood that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s something like no other. It’s so complex that it’s nearly impossible to explain it in words. To understand the brotherhood of MC, you must experience it. That doesn’t mean going to school and leaving at 2:40 or simply going to a football or a basketball game. You have to live that MC experience. You have to understand what the guys around you go through, understand what it means to be a Man of Carmel. It’s only then you can see not just the guys around you, but everyone who went to Mount Carmel that they are your brothers. 

I’m now leaving my home, a home which I have been going to for four years. MC is all I know about, and now I’m leaving for my next adventure, St. Ambrose University. I honestly don’t know what I want to do or what to think when I get there. 

But I do know one thing: MC has helped me become a better man. So as I walk out of the doors of Holy Name Cathedral, I cared to work hard and struggle, as the sign hovering over us at lunch for four years has said. Now I am able to leave Mount Carmel as a man.

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About the Contributor
Jack Breakey '24
Jack Breakey '24, Staff Writer
John “Jack” Breakey is a Senior at Mount Carmel High School. Jack resides on the South Side of Chicago in the Morgan Park neighborhood. He also attended grammar school in the neighborhood at St. Cajetan School.  Jack is a member of Caravan Broadcasting Network as their Senior Producer and also a member of the MC Model UN club and a Peer Leader. Outside of school, he’s a member of the Chicago Fire Department Gold Badge Society. For hobbies, Jack enjoys bike riding, watching movies, playing video games, and researching government. One of Jack’s favorite pastimes is listening to music. He is a large fan of rock and roll, especially Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, and the genre of bluegrass. This influence came from his father, Thomas Breakey, Mount Carmel class of 1982, and an active Chicago firefighter. His father has been a large inspiration for Jack, who has become a better man because of his father. Jack's dream job is working in international relations or national security. He researches current world events and conflicts while also being a student of history. Who knows? Jack might become the real Jack Ryan one day.